tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN August 28, 2013 10:00am-5:01pm EDT
and mitch the senate republican lear mitch mcconnell. it was held at u.s. capitol. here's a portion of the event that runs just under an hour. we are back live at 11:00 eastern time with the ceremony on the mall on the steps of the lincoln memorial. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi. >> good afternoon. thank you for bringing us together for this congressional bipartisan observance of the 50
year anniversary of the march on washington. wasn't it exciting to see the enthusiasm and the film of the people of the day? who could have expected so many of us would be here who had ties to all that was owing on? who could suspect that we would all be with john lewis? [applause] attorney general, mr. mayor, you honor us with your presence. .he fierce urgency of now words rang out across the national mall, the call echoed in households across america. the summons ignited a movement to make real the promise of democracy. of course everyone knows the "i had a dream" speech, but the
fierce urgency of now part of it was not only an inspiration, it was a motivation to act. was not the first time dr. martin luther king jr. urged fellow travelers to reject the status quo, to in his words at the march, refuse to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. seven years early now to trim of in francisco, my hometown, 1956, dr. king delivered the same message to the delegates of the naacp convention. --said "now i realize those all over are telling us we must slow up, he said, but we cannot afford this slow up. we have a moral obligation to press on because of our love for america and our love for the democratic way of life, we must keep moving.
in san francisco in 1956 to the mall in 1963 to america today, dr. king's message endures. we must keep moving. our heritage and our hope. advancing civil or voting rights. within two years after the march, there would be a historic civil rights act and a voting rights act. that is why i think it is very important congress observe this anniversary and what followed. there were signs of progress but not enough. at the time of the march, there were five african-american members at the house of -- today, 43 led by the chairwoman.
there is a sign of progress and things like that, it is not enough. that is what is not enough. [applause] at the time of the march, john lewis was the chair of the student nonviolent committee. today, he was -- is distinguished, very senior and respected member of the house of representatives, representing the district of georgia. that is a sign of progress and we want more. at the time of march, the congressional black caucus did not exist. today, it is well identified as the conscience of the congress. [applause] the cdc congress has acted to break down barriers and housing and the list goes on. congress has worked to reduce disparities in healthcare and equality in the workplace.
we have kept moving forward. each step is a sign of progress. we have a moral obligation to press on. we must keep moving. we must embrace the fierce urgency of now. inscribed on the east entrance to the martin luther king memorial in san francisco is another statement from dr. king's visit to our city in 1956. he said, "i believe a day would come when all of god's children, from black to white, would be significant on the constitution's keyboard. that reference to music reminds me that standing in the crowd in the march on washington, i had the privilege to be at the crowd. i do not want to say i heard the speeches. i had to go home and get married. [laughter]
so i know how many years ago the march was, as i celebrate now, my husband and my 50 year anniversary. [applause] anyone who was there standing in the crowd at the march on washington would remember the sound of the day. hearing the music. you have heard the music in the film. listening to the people saying, hopeful about the future, determined to act to strengthen our democracy. today, the music of the march, the harmony of the civil rights music, inspirational words came, to inspire us to compose on that august afternoon. a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. thank you. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the majority leader of of the united states senate, the honorable harry reid. [applause] >> when the march took place in washington, demanding what dr. king called a joyous daybreak and a long night of captivity, i was doing exactly what i am doing today. i had been a police officer and saw over several days in washington, then i looked out on the day of the speech and i did
not know -- every place you look. buses. yellow buses, red buses, buses. then i watched a sea of men, women, and children lurch from the buses and peacefully assemble they came from every corner of the country, from the streets of california and the las vegas trip, from the streets of soma, the fields of georgia, louisiana. one man is now a united states senator representing the state of maine. he was in the march. he had a good seat to watch the speech of dr. king. he was in a branch of a tree in the mall watching the speech.
thesee came from all over. proud people in these proud african americans and their allies, like angus king, would no longer stand silent or promise of liberty and justice role tonight true freedom to so many. i could not hear the speeches. i felt the heat. i was inside the capital. but i could see the tide of history turn as hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters pushed forward toward that thing called freedom. that day, martin luther king shared his dream. they consider 1963 not as the end of the fight of civil rights, but only the beginning.
here is what he said. "we cannot turn back. there are those who are acting asking for the civil rights, when will we be satisfied? we are not satisfied and we will not be until justice rolls down like a mighty stream." in the year following the march, those momentum -- momentous words, congress passed the civil rights act. to distract eyes for decades and for decades and decades african-american voters. a year after that, the voting rights act was enacted into the law. discrimination in places especially the south. dr. king was right when he said this struggle for equality would be ongoing. dr. king was right when he said
we should not rest until we feel the waters of justice down they have not roll down enough. 50 years later, some of the progress made by the civil rights movement and some of the freedoms protected by the voting rights act are once again under siege. since the supreme court's decision to strike down portions of the voting rights act, states, once again, our free to erect barriers to discourage american citizens to exercise one of the most fundamental rights -- the right to vote -- without intimidation or obstruction. regrettably, even hours after the decision, not days, not weeks, but hours, states had already decided they were going to do some things that they previously would never have done. in texas and mississippi, north
carolina and florida, groups are already devising creative ways to make it difficult for minorities, each of us, to vote. in texas, they have already done it. this assault on freedom should be taken as seriously as you have taken anything. any changes to our voting process should be enacted to make voices heard. just simply being able to vote. i have asked the senate judiciary committee to examine these dangerous voting suppression efforts and discuss steps the senate can make to preserve the right of every senatorto cast a ballot. leahy is doing that. [applause]
on the day the civil rights act was signed into law, president lyndon johnson warned the struggle for equality was not nearly over. here is what he said. "those who founded our country knew that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought." now our generation of americans have been called on to the search of justice. he is sure right. those words are written -- are a reminder to a new generation that freedom must be tended to in order -- for us to grow. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mitch mcconnell.
[applause] >> there are moments when you know that in -- at this point in time, old ways will be left to when you see an idea or cause become more than that. and when you know that after wayspoint in time, old will be left to the past. that there is no turning back. the march on washington was just such a moment. it was electric, and for anyone privileged enough to be there, or, in congressman lewis's case,
to participate, you just knew your country would never be the same. neither would you. one sympathetic college student, i will tell you, it is something i will never forget. i could not hear much from the capitol steps, but i was there. the crowd and the energy told its own story. the thousands of americans were ready to meet the moment, not just to dream of a better future for themselves, but to fight for a better future for their children. the march inspired millions more to fight for civil rights. it inspired me to help organize for change in kentucky.
it inspired washington to act with congress passing the civil rights act less than a year later. i remember that well, to because i watched the senator overcome opposition and pass it. my point here is that the march helped ring the strands of an emerging national consensus into focus. it helped get us closer to the ideal of equality dr. king spoke of so eloquently that day. while we all remember his famous speech, it is also important to remember the march and the movement it represented was the work of many. james madison once said our constitution was the work of many heads and hands.
the same can be said of the civil rights movement. i have already mentioned congressman lewis reminds us of the contributions. they lift our hearts. chaplain black and the revel in reverend -- they lift our spirits. all of the seats filled in this hall of national memory remind us of the many thousands who made their way from every corner of this nation. through great effort, to be here on august 28, 1963. for an event they would never
forget. for an event that we as a nation must never forget. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, jesse norman performing a version of the song performed at the 1963 march on washington for jobs on freedom. "he has got the whole world in [applause] >> let us listen please to the words of this song and understand that in the heart of our creator, every soul has the same value and should be valued equally.
house of representatives, the honorable john boehner. >> how about a round of applause? [applause] let me thank my colleagues for their testimonials and express my gratitude to all the members of staff of the congressional black caucus in their assistance planning this ceremony. we have many guests. the mayor is here. our attorney general is here. we want to welcome all of you. right now, i have the distinct honor of introducing a great patriot, the recipient of the presidential medal of freedom, and original freedom fighter, an architect in the march on washington, and the last living he is the conscience of
the people's house. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable john lewis. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. when i look back on august 28, 1963, the day of the march on washington for jobs and freedom, i see it as one of this nation's finest hours. the american people push and pull. they struggled, suffered, and some even died, to demonstrate
the desire to see a more fair, a more just society. their efforts and commitment ushered in a spirit of bipartisanship, collaboration, and meaningful change into the congress. they became one of the finest hours of american democracy. as members of congress, we owe it to ourselves to take a moment to contemplate the meaning of this 50th anniversary. what will it take for us to come together to make that kind of progress for the american people once again? in 1963, i was only 23 years old.
i had all my hair. [laughter] a few pounds lighter. but in 1963, leading up to the march on washington, there had been an unbelievable amount of action on the part of the movement, on the part of those of us who called ourselves a circle of trust. a band of her others and sisters. people were sitting at lunch counters, standing in at they were beaten, arrested, and jill by the hundreds of thousands. by state and local government officials. evers was assassinated in june of 1963. governor wallace, the governor of alabama, stood in the doorway
on the university of alabama to block two young students, two young people that i got to know. with us today. thank you for being here today. [applause] the commission of public safety for the city of birmingham used police dogs of women and children, involved in peaceful, nonviolent protest. dr. martin luther king jr.,
reverence and leaders had been arrested and jailed in birmingham. in 1963, millions of american citizens could not register to vote simply because of the color of their skin. lawyers, doctors, college professors, high school principals, maids, butler's, and farmers stood in aim -- in a just all across the south, trying to register to vote. intimidation surrounded the democratic process. people are afraid of losing their jobs. beaten and even killed, but trying to register to cast a vote. a society committed to liberty and justice. that the differences between us have some bearing on human life.
those of us in the movement made a decision that we had to do what we could, give our very lives if necessary, to demonstrate that those kinds of ideas are not true and must not prevail. the morning of the march, we met with democrats and republican leaders right here on capitol hill on the house and senate side. some of you here, take the time to come to my office, and you will see a photo, black and white, at the end of our meeting. a republican who played a major role in having to pass the civil rights of 1964, and only members
who voted for the act is the dean of the congress and my dear representative john dingo. [applause] the plan that we would walk down the avenue and lead people to the steps of the lincoln memorial. when we step out to the streets, we saw hundreds of thousands of people pouring out the union station. they were black and white, latino, asian, and native american. they were members of -- american citizens. especially those living in europe, came from abroad to participate, to be a part of the march, to participate in the march.celebrities were there. mostly, there were countless and nameless ordinary people with
extraordinary vision who came. they wanted to their witness to truth. one people, one family, the human family. we are one people, one house, the american house. we are supposed to be reading-- leading them. they are already marching. it was like, there go my people, let me catch up with them. [laughter] they pushed us down constitution avenue up to the status of the -- steps of thelincoln memorial. about that time, a delegate, a distinguished law student, already on the mall, russian -- recognize the volunteers for one bayard march organizers.
rustin. two months before the march, members of the so-called big six, the civil rights organization, met with john f kennedy just days before i had been elected the national chair. in a meeting with president kennedy, my first official act. at this meeting, randolph, a-- a philip randolph, the founder of the brotherhood ,spokesperson, told president kennedy we were going to march on washington. president kennedy was concerned. he started twisting and turning in his chair. he asked us whether he thought there would be violence. mr. randolph said, mr. president, this will be a peaceful, nonviolent protest.
he was not so sure. 6000 police officers and troops were deployed around the city. liquor stands were abandoned. a major league baseball game was someone even rigged our file system so they could pull the plug if necessary. the spirit had engulfed people. people came like they were on their way to a religious service. they were going to a meeting. mahalia jackson saying, how we got over? thousands of us together, it seemed like the whole place, the whole mall, started rocking.
somehow in some way, peace, love, and nonviolence had been instilled in the very being of all the participants. we believed in every human being, even those violent toward us, there was the spark of the divine. we had a right to protest. we have a right to demand this nation respect the dignity and worth of every human being. people were moved and inspired by the vision of justice and the quality and were willing to put their lives on the line. martin luther king jr., this man, inspired all of us with his he was the last speaker.
he took those marble steps of the lincoln memorial. he gave us hope. i spokeired a nation. number six. i said something like, we march today for jobs and freedom, though we have nothing to be proud of for hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters are not here. receiving starvation wages or no wages at all. at the end of my speech, i said, where is our party? where is the political party that made it necessary to march on washington? i continue to say, we must seek
more than civil rights, wemust work for the community for love, peace, and true brotherhood. our minds, souls, and hearts, could not rest until freedom and justice exist for all people. i say to you 50 years later, we've come a distance since that day. many of the issues that gave rise to the march are still present in our society today. violence, long-term unemployment, voting rights, and the need to protect human dignity. we have come a great distance, but we are not finished yet. it is a struggle of a lifetime. to build a beloved community or
to redeem the soul of america. we still need to find a way to humanize our political institution, our businesses, and our system of education. 50 years later, those of us committed to the calls of justice, need to pace ourselves. our struggle is an ongoing struggle. there will be progress. there will also be setbacks. we must continue to have hope and be still in our faith that this nation will become a truly multiracial democracy. we must continue to work. we must not give up or give in. keep the faith. and people hurting and suffering, we must be ready to take action, cast our votes, and move our feet. we must have a sense of urgency
to use the power rented us to-- granted us whatelp end human suffering. the march on washington is saying to us today, is that we are at our bestas a people and a congress understand our differences do not divide us. we will be at our best when we accept that we are one people, one american family, that we all live in the same house. the american house, the world it is saying no one, but no one is worthless. everyone can make a contribution. the march on washington is saying to us today that we as a nation and a people can come together and lay down the burden of race. we can unite for the common good.
we can believe again in the divine spark and us all. great things for all americans, and not just some. after the march was over, president kennedy invited us thek down to the white house. president stood in the door of the oval office. he greeted each one of us. he was beaming like a proud father. he was smiling. he was glad everything had gone so well. he shook the hands of the 10 of us. whenaid, you did a good job. he said, you king,
had a dream. he said, we all can dream. 50 years later. let's continue the work that has already been done to build a loving community, a community at peace with itself that values the dignity and worth of every citizen and every human being. that is the message of the march on washington. thank you. >> a live look on the national mall where thousands are gathering for a rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march on washington to promote civil rights and economic equality, which paved the way for the civil rights act of 1964 in the
voting rights act of 1960 five. speeches by civil rights activists, political leaders, family members of dr. martin luther king jr. all scheduled throughout the day today. from formeremarks presidents bill clinton and jimmy carter. it will wrap up about two: 45 by president -- by speech by the president at the site where dr. king delivered his "i have a dream" speech 50 or's ago. at 3:00 em, bells at about 300 sites around the nation will mark the hour of dr. king's speech. we will have live continuous coverage all day right here on c-span. andcan watch online as well listen in on c-span radio. the program is scheduled to get underway at about 11:00 a.m. eastern. until then, we will watch some of the sights and sounds from this morning on the national mall.
>> sights and sounds from the nation's capital this morning where people are standing in line waiting for the start of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington for civil rights and economic equality. beginning in about 13 minutes from now, preparations continue as a light rain falls on the national mall. earlier today we spoke with usa today reporter who gave us a look at the history of marches
and washington, d.c. >> with regard to these demonstrations, these markets are in washington along the mall and elsewhere. >> two things changed. the 1963 or the perceived success of that march encouraged other people to do the same thing. secondly, almost every technological change since then from satellite television to arena video screens and sound systems have made marches more accessible, just more feasible. you see the cascading number of marches to the point where the noted martin luther king the type hass,
been debased by repetition. asx significant difference we have listened to a number of oral histories, the organizational work it took to put this work together with more than 200,000 in the sum estimated 250,000, well before e-mail and twitter and other social media, this is truly a grassroots effort. a lot has changed in terms of ideology 50 years later. has that impacted the value of these marches? klux guest: carried topeech was nations around the world by satellite, and broadcast live on the only three broadcast networks, today, it would take in a norma's event to get that kind of attention. get thatus event to kind of attention. people's attention span for various reasons has been so
changed, that you really have to fight to break through to make an impression. which is why we get into such a numbers game with these demonstrations. organizers feel if they have a great number, they will force the news media to cover them. the problem is, no one can agree on the number. and since litigation was introduced in the 1990s, the national park service and the national park police won't .stimate what the crowd is so everybody is on their own and there's always a free-for-all over what the crowd size is. >> in your piece available online at usa today.com, there is an american tradition, can you outline some of the more memorable and less memorable demonstrations that we have seen over the last five decades? towell, it would be easy list the less memorable marches. for instance, in the category of the millionllion,"
man march in 1995, an attempt to rally american black men, not only for civil rights issue but that wasl pride issue, a big success, but that began the million mom march, the million family march, the million workers march, and even the million puppet marches. so you move from the grand the less grand. during the vietnam war in 1971, there was a series of marches culminating in the mayday tribe demonstrations which was a march an attempt to shut down the city and cut down its commuter purchase to the city. that made in a norma's impact. you can say -- enormous impact, so you can say that was a success. over 10,000 arrest and again international news needy attention. but it also turned off a lot of
voters, a lot of middle american voters who saw these long-haired demonstrators battling the cops and did not leave them a very positive view of the antiwar movement. on the other hand, it did sort of send out to government leaders the message that this fabricfraying the social of our country and someone has to stop it. >> the wall street journal has a story about bayard rustin with a photograph of him and the map of washington. the individual behind what happened in august 1963. you touch on his role back in 1963 in your article. why was he so significant? an organizational genius, a bit of a margin-ette. he was gay. he had been ostracized within the civil rights movement call a of what these to morals arresting california because of the sexual practice.
but he was probably the only person who could have brought together in the pre-internet age this kind of an event. a. philip randolph, the great african-american labor leader, rustin hisnamed "jeopardy," but in fact, rustin did all of the work from a third story office in harlem, organizing unions, men's groups, local chapters of civil rights groups. rent trains and buses and everything and then sell tickets to people to get them all the washington. it is hard to imagine someone doing an event like that today with those kinds of tools. but he did. you wantvely new, if to talk about the last 100 plus years that marches took place here in washington, something changed in the late 18 90s that brought demonstrations to washington, d.c..
what was that? >> sort of an eccentric 40-year- old ohio businessman took -- there was a depression, a series of depressions in the 1880s and 1890s because of financial panics. unemployment was very high. he took it into his head of somehow he could get unemployed men in march to washington, they could compel the government to adopt what would be a stimulus program, at the time, a public works project to create jobs. a couple hundred of them began marching from ohio all the way to washington. they called themselves petition in boots, to congress, but unfortunately, when they got there, he was arrested for walking on the grass of the capital and the march pretty much dissolved. from a national reporter for the publication and website usa today. thank you for being with us.
>> my pleasure. >> we are live this morning on the national mall. thousands are expected today for this rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. winky events begin in about five minutes and throughout the day, we will be hearing speeches by civil rights activist, political leaders, family members, after martin luther king jr.. also former presidents bill clinton and jimmy carter will speak. president obama will make remarks from the steps of the lincoln memorial, the site were dr. king delivered his "i have a dream" speech 50 years ago to the day. at 3:00 p.m. eastern, bells around the nation will ring. we will have live continuous coverage all day right here on c-span and you can also watch online at c-span.org and listen in on c-span radio. the program is set to get underway at 11:00 a.m., about five minutes from now. until then, we will continue to watch some of the sights and sounds run this morning on the national mall.
hear from, benjamin jealous, president and ceo of the naacp, actor jamie foxx, reverend al sharpton, also oprah winfrey will speak a little bit later this afternoon. thomas and john lewis and presidents jimmy carter and bill clinton will give remarks later this afternoon. president obama will also speak at 2:45 eastern and we will have live coverage of all of this when they get underway in just a moment. former president george bush released a statement saying in part, dr. king was on these search 30 years ago. honoring him requires the commitment of everyone of us. they're still a need for every american to help hasten the day dr. king's vision is made real in every community.
march on washington and dr. martin luther king, jr.'s speech. president obama will make a speech at 2:45. we spoke with a reporter who gave us a preview of the president's remarks. >> thanks very much for being with us. we want to talk about the speech, and about syria. let's begin with the president's remarks this afternoon. how did he prepare for this address? >> the president said yesterday that the speech was still in final drafting. it was probably wrapped up in total this morning. he outlined some basic concepts in,the speech, routing it to a degree, the economic message she has been describing for the last three or four weeks -- he has been describing for
the last three or four weeks, using a springboard to speak about economic issues and linked to the companion motivation for that march in 1963, which was for better economic opportunities for african-americans. that will be the central focus of his remarks today. he is sort of the living embodiment of many of the realized dreams of that civil rights movement, and that "i have a dream" speech. he will outline proposals, as he has in the last couple of weeks. >> as you reported over the years, the president continues to face criticism from african- american leaders, claiming he is not doing enough. >> the economic progress of the country has been slow for all races, but acutely slow for african-americans. the presidentthere were times, e
trayvon martin case. whenhere have been times the congressional black caucus and others have thought that the white house has, to their surprise, cap them at something of an arms length in terms of policy and politics. the white house has struggled with striking this balance, that the first african-american president doesn't want to be in this lane of being the african- american president. he wants to be the president for the entire nation. it is a balance that no previous president has had to strike. the white house has struggled with that balance. >> how much of trayvon martin or what the president said in the briefing room will come through today as well? >> that is unclear. the characterization the white house has given to those remarks at the time is that he was in a
moment, and a time that the president, after a weekend of -- week of debate, the president wanted to give his own about whys, and talk that verdict did not set as well or comfortably with african- americans as it did with non- african-americans in the country. that was a one-time event, where the president was not going to wade back into those waters on a routine basis. i don't know if the president is going to make a direct reference to the trayvon martin case. it would surprise me if he did. the white house has gone to some great links to say, -- lengths to say, that was a moment in time and one that the president has no interest in constantly referring back to. >> how did the speech come about? >> the president certainly is not going to be a passive participant in this speech of this symbolic importance.
in, andident does weigh recraft some crafts. the more routine, formulaic speeches -- no presidential speech is ever purely formulaic. the speechwriting department takes the lead on that. president had his own original ideas and concepts, and the speechwriters put it together. >> we are live from the national mall as we await the start of this program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the "i have a dream" speech. president obama will lead the civil rights pioneers of today in a celebrated but solemn commemoration of dr. king's "i have a dream" speech. large crowds throng to the national mall and lincoln
memorial, where king, with a soaring oratory, pleaded for americans to come together to stop -- stamp out racism. a light drizzle greeted the earliest arrivals for an appearance that seem to take on a more serious tone. people eager to get a view of president obama clustered at a security checkpoint. from the world war ii memorial to the lincoln memorial. >> please welcome giraldo marshall.
[applause] ladies and gentlemen, please welcome journalist and ceo of the starfish media group, solid nhat o'brien -- soledad o'brie and hill harper. how is everybody doing out there? good morning, everybody. it is a privilege to welcome you to a celebration and commemoration of the march on washington. >> on this very day, 50 years ago, in this spot 50 years ago,
hundreds of thousands of people came together to be part of a call to action. >> that moment would define not just the american civil rights movement, and it would remind us of our core values, who we are as americans. >> what is the dream? what does it mean to fulfill the dream? >> the speech by dr. martin luther king, jr. was delivered right here. see, you can see what i look around. imagine what it was like to be here 50 years ago. hundreds of thousands of people who came from across our country to be part of something bigger than themselves. >> there was rumors that coming here would be dangerous. there were fears that nobody would show up. in the end, it was a success because people believed in the power of standing for something. that speech by dr. king was not called, "i have a dream."
normalcy never again. it was about opportunity for all people. >> it was about looking forward to where we need to go as a country, which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from 50 years ago. he said, the future does not belong to those who are fearful of gold projects and new ideas, but it longs to those -- belongs to those who can blend passion and courage. 1963, i was in the mind of god, as my mother would say. my parents, an interracial couple, knew the importance of the message that was delivered here. their marriage in 1958 was illegal in the state where they lived. they came to the nation's capital to get married. 55 years later, they have seen tremendous change. they have seen opportunities grow. >> look at this audience.
theou were here during march in 63, make some noise. if you wish you were here in 1963, make some noise. >> those of you who were here, we say thank you. it was your passion -- >> it was your courage -- >> it was your commitment to change the world allowed those of us who were not there to benefit from the sacrifices you made. >> today we are gathered to humbly say, thank you. to celebrate what was gained, remember what was lost, and move forward. we know we are always better if we stand together. >> thank you, and welcome, everybody. [applause]
invitation,oday's lee's welcome pastor a r bernard from the christian cultural center -- please welcome pastor a.r. bernard from the christian cultural center. >> good morning. philosopher, educator, first black rhodes scholar in 1907, elaine leroy iraq -- leroy locke said that beatings, castration's, and more lynching -- it almost passes human understanding how people can be so socially despised, yet artistically esteemed. so degraded, and yet culturally influential. , and yet aed
dominant editorial force in american life. hurston said, sometimes i do feel discriminated against, but it doesn't make me angry. , how can astonishes me anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company is beyond me. these were two voices from an era and african-american history that sought to move away from the influences of slavery on black identity, guided by the ideals of self definition, self- expression, self-determination and self-reliance. they forged a new black identity. they called themselves the new negro movement, better known as the harlem renaissance. creating their own literature, arts, music, theater. they artistically and intellectually challenged the prevailing black stereotypes. from this generation emerged
names such as elaine leroy locke , neale hurston claude mckay, fats waller, duke ellington. america experienced and said, we like the style of these people. they enjoyed it, adopted it, integrated it. and exploited it. black stylety of and culture soon spread throughout the country. not enough for black folks to be artistically admired. black folks wanted and demanded full participation in the social, political, and economic life of american society. for attitude set the stage the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's. on wednesday, august 28, 1963, of thempeople -- 80%
black -- marched on the nation's capital as did before this lincoln memorial, declaring that the time for radical change had -- and stood before this lincoln memorial, declaring that the time for radical change had come. good.ating the past is but without a vision for the future, we will never move beyond that past. in 2008, america was ready for an intelligent and articulate black man to sit in the oval office. he brought not only his intelligence, but some swagger into the white house. is, in three years, willirst black family leave the white house, and black folks will be forced to ask the question, where are we as black people in america?
where are we politically, socially, educationally, and economically? we will discover that the struggle is not over. with determination, faith, and patients, we have obtained some of the promises of america. but we still have a long way to go. the same god who brought us this on, we must trust and depend to take us into the future. let us bow our heads and go to that god in prayer. internal got an everlasting ndther, -- eternal god a everlasting father, our prayer is short and simple. give us wisdom, give us insight. give us courage. give us leadership. more importantly, give us a vision for the future. without it, we will not move
beyond the achievements of the past. we ask you to bless every speaker, every singer. bless us today as we celebrate the past, but look forward to the future. in your name we pray, amen. >> ladies, it is my humbling honor to bring to you now a man who i have the deepest respect for, someone who is a living legend and true hero of the civil rights movement. please rise to your feet and welcome ambassador andrew young. [applause] i don't know about you, but i
♪ with mys morning mind set on freedom ♪ come on, help me. ♪ i woke up this morning with my mind ♪ ♪ staid on freedom ♪ hallelu ♪hallelujah ♪ i'm walking and talking with my mind ♪ ♪ my mind was set on freedom ♪ walking and talking with my mind ♪ set on freedom ♪ ♪ walking and talking with my mind ♪ ♪ set on freedom ♪ hallelujah
[applause] 50 years ago, when we came here, we came from a battle. we came from a battle in birmingham. that was just a few months before, before martin luther king came here to speak of his dream. he had been through bombings, jailing's, beatings. he had been snatched from his jailhouse cell and put in chains and taken down to the reidsville penitentiary in the middle of the night and thought it was going to be his last night on earth. battles ofough the albany and birmingham and came out victorious. we knew the fight was just beginning. we knew we had a long way to go, and this was just the start.
he came here representing the southern christian leadership conference, saying that we were going to redeem the soul of america from the triple evils of racism, war, and poverty. he came not talking so much about racism nor war. his speech was about poverty. he said the constitution was a promissory note, to which all of us would fall heir. when men and women of color presented their check at the bank of justice, it came back marked insufficient funds. he said he knew that was not the end. 50 years later, we are still here, trying to cash that bad check. later, we are still dealing with all kinds of problems. we are not here to claim any
victory. we are here to simply say that the struggle continues. , when thingsgo would get difficult, ralph at say, i don't know what the future may hold. but i know who holds the future. that then would say ark of the universe bends towards justice. god beneath the shadows, keeping watch above his own. i want to say to you this -- i want to say -- ♪ i got a feeling everything's got a be all right ♪ ♪ i've got a feeling everything's going to be all right ♪ feelingot a
everything's going to be all right ♪ ♪ be all right ♪ be all right pray on, and stay on, and fight on. [applause] please welcome robbie novak, national parks service director jonathan jarvis, and the mayor of washington, d.c., vincent gray. ago,wasn't here 50 years but i hope to be in the next 50 years. sure the duty to make world keeps dreaming for better
things. keep dreaming, keep dreaming, keep dreaming. >> in the summer of 1963, the civil rights movement was reaching its crescendo. a march on washington became one of its defining moments. there are countless photographs of that historic day. one shows a pair of national park service rangers standing by dr. king on the steps of the lincoln memorial. the image captures a small moment in a great event, but speaks volumes about the role of the national park service. we are here, we will always be here as the guardians of the american story. theather today admits greatest concentration of american monuments anywhere in thecountry -- amidst
greatest concentration of american monuments anywhere in the country. you will find a familiar national park service arrowhead, and the distinctive ranger's flat hat. we are there to welcome visitors, answer questions, and take care of these treasured places, to preserve the american stories they represent and the aspirations that bind us together as a people. the places are now reserved as national parks across our nation. the first women's rights convention in seneca, new york. bridge and theis long road from selma to montgomery. the home and office of cesar chavez. little rock, brown v board.
the power of these places is to inspire each generation to have a dream and the courage to make it a reality. national park service's fundamental mission is to keep a promise to the american people, that the ideas that shape us as a nation, the principles we strive to uphold, the values we fought and died for will be preserved forever. we are very proud of the two rangers who stood on the steps 50 years ago. they will forever connect the national park service to the march on washington. my promise to you today is that we will protect these, and all the places entrusted to our care, to the highest standard of stewardship. to inspireo use them the next generation to create a more perfect union. thank you, and welcome. [applause] good morning, everyone.
on behalf of the 632,000 residents of the district of columbia, allow me to welcome you to our nation's capital. , in his ago today timeless "i have a dream" speech, dr. tang borrowed a lyric from one of our favorite patriotic songs -- lyric fromrrowed a one of our favorite patriotic songs. "let freedom ring." georgia,e mountain of and every hill of mississippi. there was one place that dr. king did not mention, about which he later spoke of. that was the district of columbia.
that is because full freedom and democracy were and are still denied to the people who quite literally live within the site of the capitol dome. our city is home to more residents than the state of vermont and wyoming. but we have no voting representative in our own congress. billion ae than $3.5 year in federal taxes. we don't even get the final say over how we spend our own locally raised money. we send our sons and daughters to fight for democracy overseas, but don't get to practice it fully here at home. today, as we remember those who gave so much have a century ago
to extend the blessings of liberty to all americans, i implore and hope that all of you will stand with me when i say that we must let freedom ring , whereunt saint alban rises the majestic national cathedral. we must let freedom ring from the bridges of anacostia. we must let freedom ring from capitol hill itself, until all of the residents of the very seat of our great democracy are truly free. you to ourme welcome nation's capital, the district of columbia. please join hands with us and make every american free, especially those who live in the district of columbia, our nation's capital. minister and vocal artist.
[applause] these welcome the honorable angus king, u.s. senator from -- lee's welcome the honorable angus king, u.s. senator from maine -- please welcome the honorable angus king, u.s. senator from maine. >> 50 years ago, americans marched to this face. they came from the north east, west, midwest. they came from the south. they came by rail, they came by bus. they came by car. one even roller skated here from chicago. they slept the night before in buses, in cars, on friend's floors, and in churches. 50 years ago this morning, we started in small rivulets of
people on the sidestreets of this great city. we joined together in larger streams moving toward the main arteries of washington. then we came together in a mighty river of people down to this place. old, young, black, white, protestant, catholic, and you -- jew. we stopped at the washington paul,nt and heard peter, and mary sing of the hammer of justice and the bill of freedom. -- bell of freedom. americans came to this place idead a radical idea, an at the heart of the american experience. world and ino the
1976, tested in 1865, renewed in 1963, and an idea still new and radical today. all men and women are created equal. all men and women are created equal. ago, at this place, at this sacred place, americans sent a message to their leaders and around the world that the promise of a quality, of opportunity, equality before the in the right to freely participate in the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship applied to everyone in this country. not just the lucky few of the
right color or the accident of birth. this is what martin luther king meant when he said that his dream was deeply rooted in the american dream. 100 50 years ago, 150 years ago this summer a mighty battle was fought not far from this place. this idea, the idea of equality, the idea of america hung in the balance. one of the soldiers on those hot july days was a young college professor from maine named joshua lawrence chamberlain. returning to the battlefield at , heysburg many years later expressed the power of the place where such momentous deeds were done.
here is what he said. here is what joshua chamberlain said. in great deeds, something abides. on great fields, something stays. and path bodies toappear, but spirits linger consecrate the ground for the vision place of souls. generations that no was not, and to see know not of, where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them shall come to this deathless field, to this deathless place to ponder and dream. and lo, the shadow of a mighty presence will wrap them in its it was him -- bosom, and the
power of the vision shall pass into their souls. 50 years ago today, this place was a battlefield. no shots were fired. no canon's roared. a battlefield nonetheless. a battlefield of ideas. the ideas that define us as a nation. as it was once said of church held, martin luther king -- churchill, martin luther king mobilized the english language and marched into war. in the process, caught the conscience of the nation. , 50 today on these steps years on, indeed something abides. the power of the vision has surely passed into our souls.
[applause] please welcome the mayor of depree.urg, johnny i want to thank the national conference of black mayors, and the coalitions for the opportunity to make a few remarks on this occasion. the kids and decades ago, blood, sweat, tears, organizing negotiations and adjudications all culminated in a march 50 years ago. in march that would change the lives of millions of people, including myself. if someone would've told me that this little country boy who grew up on a dirt road in hattiesburg, mississippi would become a mayor, i would have
fallen off a truck. housese and my cousin's were next-door. we call that house a shotgun house. you may have had the opportunity to take a bath in a number 310. i did that. that's where i come from. playing with rocks because my mom could not afford the ball. to become the mayor of the fourth-largest city in mississippi. we have been entrusted with making the lives of people better that we serve. prospere is, freedom to , coexist, govern. african-americans, elected officials and black mayors in must not create ways to govern after being elected.
period of time, during reconstruction, african- americans held elected office. jim crow quickly ended that. one of the challenges before african-americans, minorities, and women is the freedom to govern. we must do locally what president obama was able to do theonally, and go back to individuals, groups, pastors who helped get us here and encourage them to make their voices heard and push our collective agendas forward. we are afforded an awesome opportunity to be here today. we have this opportunity because of people like martin luther king, who did not quiver or retreat in the face of injustice. it is because of those who
demanded to remain seated when they were asked to move. it is because of those who marched on, even though they were weary and bloodied. one foot in front of the other. one song after another. late did whatto people said could not be done. -- until they did what people said could not be done. we will march on. thank you. [applause]
>> one of the central goals of the march on washington 50 years ago was to secure the right to vote. the supreme court struck down a key provision of the 1965 voting rights act. our next guest fully understands the impact of the court's decision. lee's join me in welcoming charles steele junior, president and ceo of the southern christian leadership conference, and melanie campbell, president and ceo of the national coalition of black civic participation. >> thank you so much.
today onred to be here this great occasion. 50 years ago, i was a 17-year- alabama,n tuscaloosa, where my mother and father told me something great was getting ready to happen. i could not play ball that particular day. it was a historical event, she said. it's going to change not only america, but the world. and then i began to listen to dr. king. i realized that dr. king advocated for poor people. if dr. king was here today, i would ask them the question if
he was satisfied with the representation of poor people. to the conclusion that he would be very upset and very disturbed. wewould say that, jobs, don't have anybody lobbying for poor folks. and it is because of the lack of people who are concerned about the needs of these people who are suffering. he was saying that we must still hit the streets. we must still demonstrate. now we must go back to ground zero. we must continue to march. we must continue to pray. experience, the
whole world is saying, teachers, my brothers and sisters. teach us how to get free. free because we must still fight for freedom. are you ready to march? are you ready to demonstrate? streetshead back to the and liberate and free all of god's children. love is what love does. we must free the people. thank you so much. >> today we join elder bernice in her visionrity of a manifestation of her dream, thetream -- freedom to prosper in life, the
freedom to peacefully coexist, and the freedom to participate in government. pause to think our ancestors and forbearers who stood on these steps 50 years ago, calling for jobs and freedom. tomorrow we take dr. king's dream and vision of our elders to the next level by igniting a new movement for jobs, freedom, peace, and social justice. as i look at the state of equality and justice today, we are at a very critical moment in time. our elders have taken us this far. for us to move forward in the fight for equality and justice. theave made progress over past 50 years, but we have not arrived. it is time to step it up and get busy. 1963 there are still
those who are threatened by exclusion, today racism and inequality does not manifest itself in a white sheet, jim crow laws, poll taxes, or barking dogs. but the dogs are still biting in other ways. today, there are no white sheets . but there are judges in black robes in the u.s. supreme court who struck down section four of the voting rights act, opening the floodgates for many states , withs more voter id laws the goal of ensuring we never see another black man or woman elected president. today, as i did on saturday at the 50th march on washington, i just dropped by to tell you, and
just to remind you it is movement time. ,he daughter of janet campbell mentored by dorothy irene height seat, i leavey you with the words of agile brand off. at the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. you get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. if you can't take anything, you won't get anything. if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything. far justt make it this by passing along. we have come this far by leaning on the lord. trusting on his holy words, we have come this far. thank you. castrohonorable watching
castro.in >> it's an honor to be here with you today. i, as the son of the great state of texas, the home to the president as -- who signed the most sweeping civil rights legislation in our history. to you as someone of a grateful generation, grateful for the struggles and the movement and the blood and tears and work of the civil rights pioneers who stood here 50 years ago today, and those who marched in the streets of selma come of those who organized, people in factories and farms, those who took their battles to the courts like thurgood marshall. , those suchganized
as willie velasquez. my own parents in the 1960's were involved in a movement inspired by martin luther king and the men and women who stood here. they were active in the chicano movement, for the latino civil rights movement. i want to say thank you to them, and thank you to all of you. i also want to make a promise to you. as somebody of a younger generation of americans, i want to promise you that all of the struggles and all of the fights and all of the year so you put into making our country a better to helping our leaders understand that freedom and democracy are prerequisites to opportunity -- this generation of americans will not let that dream go. make surerry on, and that this country lives up to the values and principles for which you fought so hard. thank you very much.
[applause] please welcome perry christie, prime minister from the commonwealth of the bahamas. greetings from the bahamas. martin luther king jr. holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of bahamians, not least because he spent time amongst us, both in nassau and the tiny island of bimini, where in 1964 while on a brief vacation, he composed his nobel prize acceptance speech. on a clear night, the lights of metropolitan miami are visible ,rom the shores of bimini showing the closeness between our two nations. .e are less than 50 miles apart however close that may be in the theral sense, we are in
geography of the soul even closer than that. history,n ties of ethnicity and culture, migration of the common heritage of struggle binds us together and not just as neighbors, not even as friends, but as true brothers and sisters. the message i bring to you today can be briefly stated, and it is this. as momentous as this occasion is, we do a grave injustice to ourselves and to all humanity if we leave here and resolved to carry on the greater noble struggle for which martin luther king jr. gave his life. man shed of this good in memphis still cries out across the years. cries out to each and everyone be, allherever we may
across the world, to stand up for freedom. to stand up for human dignity. to stand up for equality. to stand up for social justice. to stand up for right and not wrong, peace, not war, love, and not hate. it is the timelessness and universality of the message she proclaimed and the her of majesty of his personal example that explains why martin luther king jr. is as relevant today as compelling today, as inspirational today, as he was 50 years ago, from the very precinct where he delivered the oration that rocked the conscience of america and the world. when he spoke as he did that we somehowehow knew, felt that his message was coming from a place that was not only deeper than himself, but deeper than all. he had a call to the place and one rousing us from our slumber so that we could take our own inner soundings and in so doing
he gave language to our deepest journey for a better life. martin luther king's work remains unfinished. this must then be for us a time not only for renewal, but above all, a profoundly personal loan will and the most authentic way possible, a time of weak dedication to the dream that martin champion all his life. the the light of the flame continue to guide us as we go forward, each in his own way, to continue the work of martin luther king. in that way, and in no other way, we keep his dream alive and make it our own. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, from the commonwealth of the bahamas, the number one expression of the crown of the the soul and spirit.
tired. and i do believe that is what the crowd some 50 years ago was saying to all of our leaders. dr. king and took the helm, and under his leadership, and under those who gave their lives such as medgar evers and so many others, said enough is enough, america. , all of us.country we belong here. and here we are, some 50 years assessing what has happened over this period of time. where we are and what we must do. for a brief period of time, i think we fell asleep and we
said, we have moved forward and everything is ok, but we know today that everything is not ok, that there has been a retrenchment in this country as far as civil rights and equal rights is concerned. the triumphswe sat, and even the defeats along to us all. dr. king told us that he might not get to the mountaintop with us, but he said that there is a ismised land, and america that promised land for all of us. we are bounded by deep roots of the individuals that inevitably become a strong group to be reckoned with, and our strength is in our numbers.
in today's world, there is emphasis on individuality. how can i reach my top? i am sure no matter how strong any one person may be, they may be strengthened with strong support from each other, encouragement and guidance from those of us who have walked the path. the movement can no longer afford an individual approach to justice. ours is an interconnected struggle. blacks, whites, male, female, young, old, everyone. to, andll in titled protected by this country that we call home. at times, it is necessary that we let those who represent us on capitol hill, those who represent us in our communities,
knowing that we are a force to be reckoned with. todayf our messages target today's youth and our elders. i look specifically at those new parents, our young professionals, youthful educators, and community activists. they are young enough to relate, but also established in our community, and i ask you, how will we bridge that gap? what are our next steps? because this country, in the area of civil rights, has certainly taken a turn backwards. am i depressed? no. forwardrgized to move and to be sure to see the gains that we have encountered and had to come to us, that we have had
to work so hard for, are not lost. so i do ask you, one of our next steps, we created a framework, but there is so much work to be done. many of our civil rights leaders, including my husband and dr. martin luther king, were still of an age when they took the lead. with that question and mind, i challenge you to get back to community building. it is your problem, it is our problem, it is our neighborhood. these are our children, you are the parents. breath, andsame victory will be a collective one. it is with a clear conscience, knowing what we have done and thato, that we will reach mountaintop, and we will overcome. but it will take each and every
unison,s, in unity, in letting those who say that they managed this country of america know that it is the people. it is the voice and the actions of the people that say, we must say, we, and eventually have overcome, because of the involvement of each and everyone. that is our challenge today. let us move for and do what we freedom ismembering not free. we must work for it. [applause] >> peaceful coexistence was a hallmark of dr. king's teachings. he said we must learn to get to
live as brothers or perish as fools. welcome the rev. christian president ofe asian american advancing justice. >> greetings from the fellowship of reconciliation, working since 1915 to secure a world of justice and freedom from through nonviolence. today, 50 years after the march on washington, i pay tribute to the visionary organizer of the original march by rustin. as a fellowship of reconciliation staff, rustin co- and organized the first freedom ride in 1947. an african-american gay man, rustin was a quaker. his life commitment to nonviolence as a spiritual discipline exemplifies that
pacifism is anything but passive. he pursuit -- refused to accept more by denying society's expectations that he be straight. he refused to be at war with another nation by being in prison as a conscientious objector during world war ii, and he refused to be at war with humanity by not accepting diminishment or division based on race. in every situation, rustin rejected violence, conflicts, and strife, and instead showed peace. he and rev. james lawson, another staffer, are credited with convincing rev. dr. king early on that nonviolence had to be the path to freedom. and so, on this day, how can we pay tribute to this legacy of nonviolence and peace, to dr.
king's refusal to see another as enemy, as we are poised to attack syria? rustin and king showed us, over and over, racism, militarism, and economic exploitation are inextricably linked. so on behalf of all people of conscience, i call on our leaders to do all in our power to resist the siren song of militarism, and increase the way of rustin, cain, the way of nonviolence and peace. thank you. [applause] >> i was born in a thatched roof hut in the jungles of laos where there was no running water or electricity. my father was a medic working with u.s. aid during the secret war in laos.
when the wars ended in southeast asia, we were forced to flee our homes and became political refugees. thanks to president carter and vice president mondale, my family was resettled in the united states. only in the america of dr. king's dream is it possible for someone like me to stand before you today. i think dr. king would be proud. dr.act, so very proud, bernice king, then you have invited me and the communities that i represent, the asian and pacific islander community, to take part in this commemoratives celebration. so i believe that while dr. king's conversation with america speaks to and still rings true today, about the creative sufferings of black america, his dream is inclusive
of all america, and his call to action in lights each america, asia and america, black america, hispanic americans, native america, to take inspiration from our own circumstances, and to know that the price of freedom is the commitment to ensuring the security of liberty and justice for all. [applause] please welcome governor martin o'malley. [applause] the work of justice is urgent. it is a real, and it is needed. let there be no comfort in our of coldfor the bigotry
indifference, for there are still too many lives in america taken from us by violence. still too many children in america who go to bed hungry, who go to school hungry. still too much apathy when the lives of people of color are too often down the less than the lives of white people. and so, the responsibility we consecrate today is not rooted in a staunch or memory, it is rooted in something start -- far deeper. it is rooted in the calling of conscience to action. actions to protect every individual's right to vote. action that safeguards and keeps guns out of hands of violent offenders. action that makes quality education and the opportunity of college a reality for more families.
action that protect the dignity civilry child's home with marriage equality. action that strengthens our country with the hopes and dreams and hard work of our newest generation of new american immigrants. action that abolishes the death penalty and improve public safety in every neighborhood, regardless of income or color. action that creates jobs and raises the minimum wage for every mom and dad who is willing to work hard and play by the rules. king,hanks to dr. america's best days are still ahead of us. love remains the strongest power in our country. forward we shall walk, hand in hand. and in this great work, we are not afraid. thank you.
he is the way, the truth, the life nobody loves me like jesus i love the lord and i will hang on to his every word ♪ [applause] >> please welcome the chair of the american association of people with disabilities, fred moss. >> i am humbled to be here with all of you today. i am a proud american with a
disability. i want to first thank the president for 503, which will give thousands of jobs to people with disabilities. 33 years ago, just a few days before starting college, i'd go from a boat and hit a sand bar and a foot of water. i broke my neck and was paralyzed from the chest down. in that instant, my life and the lives of my family changed forever. i spent seven months in hospital undergoing intensive physical therapy, learning how to be independent. when i left the hospital to begin my new life, college remained out of reach. the campus was not accessible. i thought the doors to fulfilling life had slammed shut. it was 10 years before the americans with disabilities act. i was unable to access most public buildings. i was banned from most public swimming pools. i was told there are no jobs for people like me. i could not even get on a bus. it was rare to see a person like
me in the community. we referred to as shut-ins. fortunately, a university in delaware was welcoming, i adapted to make it more accessible, and i was the first chair user to attend and graduate. my first job was in a two-story building, and yes, my office was on the second floor. every day i was carried, chair and all, up the stairs, to get to work. in the years since my accident, i have dedicated my life to expanding equal opportunity for all americans. today i do this as chair of the american association of people with disabilities, the nation's largest off disability rights organization. i also do this in my role as vice president of the comcast foundation. today, we need your help to pass the disability treaty, the treaty to expand the spirit of the americans with disabilities
act across the globe, level the playing field for u.s. businesses working abroad, and increased access for u.s. citizens traveling overseas. we will never know how many, i can say with certainty, there were people who wanted to join the march on washington 50 years ago but could not because participating was either too difficult or simply impossible for people like me. there was just no access. looking back, it is fair to say martin luther king jr. was the father of our movement as well. dr. king had a dream about equality and dignity for all people. for millions of people with disabilities, this dream remained out of reach. eight in 10 do not have jobs. most will never know what it means to work, even if we are willing and qualified. it remains legal to pay people with disabilities far less than the minimum wage. today, i share dr. king's dream. i dream of a world that does not
hold anyone back. people with disabilities represent all people in all situations. we represent nearly 20% of the u.s. population. we have seen a lot of progress, but like all civil rights movement, we have much to do. i call on everyone here today to continue to stand up for and defend the rights of people with disabilities. americans are guaranteed certain inalienable rights, the right to pursue our dreams. our duty as citizens is to help one another achieve those dreams. toase go to aapd.com/march see what we can do to get and when we dream together. thank you very much. [applause] >> in 1963, dr. king called on america to make good on its
promise of opportunity and freedom and justice for all. 50 years later, the struggle for jobs, justice, and freedom continues. please welcome the naacp board chair roslyn brock, and president and ceo of the naacp ben jealous. [applause] >> good morning. a march on washington for jobs and freedom 50 years ago was a march for equality and opportunity. while we commemorate the march today with a drum major shared his dream, we at the naacp did acknowledge that our organizing days are not over, they are beginning anew. the naacpers did not come to
washington 50 years ago to simply march, hold up signs, and go home. the power and depth of their witness is magnified by the fact that they return home and arenized, believing that we one nation, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all. the 1966 speech to committee for human rights, dr. ofg said, "of all the forms inequality, in justice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." freedom for all americans to access form -- affordable, quality health care is one of the most pressing civil rights issues for this generation. the supreme court has issued its decision. the people have spoken. the affordable care act is a lot of the land. [applause]
our communities have the opportunity starting october 1, to enroll in a new health care insurance marketplace. we must ensure, my friends, that all americans are aware that we can now change the face of health in this nation. opponents of fairness resist our noble cause. however, we are determined in our hearts and declare to the world, that when it comes to health equity and access, courage will not skip this generation. thank you. [applause] >> fired up! fired up! ladies and gentlemen, as we stand here, 50 years after the
march on washington, let us remember that dr. king's last march was never finished. the poor people's campaign was never finished. some 50 years after the march on washington, while fewer people as a percentage in our country are poor, more as a number in our country are poor. while the ladder of opportunity extends to the heavens for our people today, more are tethered at the bottom and fallen off every day. indeed, one could say that the distance between a child's aspiration represented by the top of that letter, and a family's situation at the bottom of the latter, it is the exact measurement of that parents level of frustration. so as we go home today, let us
remember the dreamer was also a doer. and as we turn on our tvs tomorrow and we see people walking out of places where they are being forced to survive on , let usy the thousands join them in their fight to lift up the bottom. ladder, itof that has extended, but the tenders at the bottom must be unleashed. thats not just be dreamers say. let us commit to being doers. thank you, and god bless. church, newiny zealand, please welcome a performance. ♪
fired up? now i can hear you, thank you. i am thankful for a day for a years, ist, after 50 ofmitted to being a nation liberty and justice for all, and in the deepest therence -- reverence, principles of freedom and justice for all. that we have today whatsident who understands martin luther king meant when he said, we must rise up from the basement of race and color to
the higher ground of content of character. i am glad we have a president who joined with martin luther king in calling upon this nation to rise up and leave the basement of race and color, and come to the higher ground of content of character. nation in prayer for a that, strangely enough, continues to seek to deny rights, and restrict freedom in the right to vote. ,e come today, 50 years later it is even stranger that there are men and forces that still seek to restrict our boat and deny our full participation.
well, we come here to washington to say, we ain't going back. we ain't goin back. far, marchedtoo too long, prayed too hard. bitterly.oo bled too profusely. and died too young. to let anyone turn back the clock on our journey of justice. [applause] for the privilege of sharing these moments with you. i see a man walking out on the stage signaling my time is up. god bless you, and god keep you. hang in there. fired up? fired up? ready to go.
[applause] >> dr. king's dream was for a brighter future, a future where everyone was free to prosper and live in harmony. joining us now are two champions of a better life for all. the chair person of the captain planet foundation, laura turner and the executive director of lesbian and street education director. as we stand here today, united on this historic anniversary, i am reflecting on the courage that thousands of people showed by putting their lives, and the lives of their families in harm's way as they fought for civil and human rights. i am thankful to my friend reverend dr. bernice king, and the king family, for inviting me here. i am thankful for them,
continuing on that path, that rocky path, to freedom and justice for all in the united states and around the world. i am not only here to commemorate this auspicious occasion, but to speak about another form of injustice. we are degrading. the lives of our children and health of our planet. than mynows this better congressman and hero rev. john lewis. fierce civily a rights activist, but he is also a staunch environmental champion. he has said the environmental movement is an extension of civil and human rights. and that is because the least of these, and our children everywhere, are the most
impacted,- adversely disproportionately impacted. there is no justice in a world where powerful people and corporations can affect the lives of every man, woman, and child. one of the themes today is the freedom to prosper. but our children cannot prosper if we continue to destroy the natural systems that support all of our lives. our children cannot prosper when they are second from exposure to a toxic cocktail of chemicals that are unregulated and untested in the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, and the products they use. and our children, and their
children, cannot prosper when they face a future of record temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather. unless we work together, we will be handing our children problems that they cannot solve. and time is running out. we have a moral mandate to protect and to preserve our children's health, quality of life, and their future, and we have a moral mandate to be good all the blessings god has given to us. millions of people around the world will be ringing their say, let's bring our bell for clean water, clean air, healthy children, environmental justice, and freedom. [applause] say, let's bring ruxtonyears ago, bayard
stood on the stage leading the crown, reciting the march on washington, a movement spoke through him, but the world would not embrace him because he was gay. today, lgbt voices are welcomed to this stage, and president obama has awarded bayard rustin the presidential medal of freedom. seen dr.ve not yet thrown opentunity to everyone. we have so far to go before a truly great education is offered to every child. our community and partners in the fight. lgbtght for millions of students and all those seen as different. they deserve a welcoming audience for their dream, and
they deserve to be embraced for yet, every day, our youth in doors the silence imposed by violence and fear. some have been silenced forever, and we raise our voices in their memory. gwen aroyyo, carl joseph walker hoover, lawrence kane. a quaker.tin was he attended meetings each week listening to the voice of the divine that could speak to anyone of us. across this nation, of voices are ready to rise for opportunity and justice and freedom for every young person,
no matter who they are, what did look like, or who they love. forces.or those lift them up so that they can be heard. when we do that, we shall all rise. thank you for the great honor of standing with you today. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, five- time nba most a valuable player, bill russell. [applause] >> good afternoon. it is nice to be here.
i was sitting in the first row, 50 years ago, and it is nice to be anywhere 50 years later. [laughter] it is nice to be ago, the nighte king, andmet dr. it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. he invited me to be up here, and becausetfully declined the organizers had worked for years to get this together, and i have not done anything. so i wanted to continue my life bystander.ested lately, i have heard a lot about how far we have come in 50 years. but from my point of view, you only register progress by how
understand that progress can by how far weed have to go. so i want to thank you for letting me speak to you, and to as we used to say in the projects, keep on keeping by how far we have to go. .n thank you. [applause] king. martin luther believed in the power of organized labor to help fight poverty. the labor movement, dr. king said movement"was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress." please welcome two die-hard champions of american workers.
the president of the a. philip randolph institute, and leigh saunders, the president of the afl-cio. [applause] 1963, a philip randolph's opening remarks were, we hear today are. thank you. only the first wave. when we leave, it will be to carry on the civil-rights revolution back home, and to every nook and cranny of this land. hello, freedom family. i am clayola brown, president of the a. philippe randolph institute. here we are 50 years later, a second wave, standing ready to carry on the revolution, ready to fight for jobs and freedom. standing ready to advance the struggles of a shared prosperity and equality for all of god's children.
this is our charge. progress isd human neither a automatic, nor inevitable. every step towards the goal of requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle. and i know you have heard it before but i will say it again, because it comes from our founder, a. philip randolph, that at the banquet table of there are no reserved seats. you get when you take and you keep what you hold. if you cannot take anything, you will not get anything. if you cannot hold anything, you will not keep anything. anythingannot take without organization. we must organize. we must organize. we must organize. [applause] >> good afternoon.e
i am so proud to represent the 1.6 million members of the american federation of state, county, and municipal employees, all the service workers whose labor touches communities throughout this nation. with dr. king in 1963 when he called on america to be true to its principles. five years later, dr. king stood with me when the workers of local 1733 demanded justice, dignity, and respect. the attorney for civil-rights workers rights, and economic rights began almost the moment america was born. it gained new momentum on these steps 50 years ago. and it advances whenever workere disenfranchised and disillusioned stand up, fight
back, and march forward. because our struggle continues, we come to this memorial not only to commemorate the past, but to shape the future. we have the power to carry the determination, and the hope and passion of the march on washington forward. we must also have had the courage. we must also have the courage. in the name of dr. king, a. philip randolph, bayard rustin, congressman john lewis, dorothy height, on behalf of those whose names will never be known, we must recommit to the struggle as stewards of a nation that belongs to the rich and poor, to the ceo and a sanitation worker, and those with and those without. we have the responsibility to build on a legacy that has been left to us all.
we must protect the most fundamental rights we have, the right to vote. ensure corporate forces will never be silent. we must fight for good jobs and decent pay. a just and become fair society of our ideals. above all, we must uphold the principle that everyone who contributes to the prosperity of this nation should share in the prosperity of our nation. a just and fairthank you. [applause] >> please welcome the u.s. representative from maryland's fourth district, the honorable edwards.rds -- donna >> i represent maryland's fourth congressional district. as the first african-american woman to represent maryland in the house of representatives, on behalf of my sisters in
congress, i am stan too proud -- proud to stand here today with other courageous women. i am proud to stand on the shoulders of our domestic workers and to be wrapped in the arms of free four little girls in a birmingham church and the chicago teenager on vacation in mississippi. it is a new day 50 years later and a better day, but the day is not over. today struggle for civil rights, social justice, and economic opportunity to man our engagement and our voice. to realize fully our dream we must raise our voices and take action. we must lift our voices to challenge government and our community and neighbors to be better. we must lift our voices for wages that enable families to take care of themselves, for a health care system that erases disparities, for communities and homes without violence, for clean air and water to protect our environment for future
generations, and for a just justice system. we must lift our voice for the value of our boat and have our votes counted without interference. as we stand here today, dr. king would know, and john lewis certainly knows, that today is not just a commemoration or celebration. it is a call to action for the work remains undone in the communities that remain unchanged. our foremothers and forefathers 50 years ago closed the books on the last century. well, when the book closes on the 21st century and civil- rights, which chapter will you have written? what fight will you have fought in the halls of congress or on the town halls of your community? for men and women, black and white, latino, asian, muslim, christian, jew, gay, straight, i hope this includes you. the final chapter must include your voice to ensure dr. king's dream. they cannot be written without you. [applause]
>> please welcome alan van capel. 50 years ago, a rabbi said -- stood on the steps with dr. king and began his remarks by saying, i speak to you as an american jew. i speak to you today as an american jew. i represent the jewish civil rights group bend the arc, and the organization that collectively make of the jewish social justice roundtable. the vision dr. king offered us 50 years ago was not only a dream. it was a call for equality, but it was also a demand for justice. >we are far from justice.
we are far from justice when young black men can be stopped, frisked, and disrespected on the streets of new york city. we are far from justice when students carry the burden of loans. we are far from justice when 11 million immigrants work every single day without her texans and a pathway to citizenship. whene are far from justice a gay, lesbian, or transgender person can be fired for their job simply because of who they are. we are far from justice when we accept the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor keep having poor and when we go to bed each night, allowing anti-american child to go to bed hungry. the moral arc of the universe is long and it does, in
fact, bend towards justice but it does not bend on its own. it tends because of people like baird rustin and andrew goodman, and james chaney, and mickey schwerner. it bends because of you and me. we make the arc bend and for many of us, it's not bending fast enough. every year we recall how moses led his people out of slavery and to the promised land but the desert came first. jews believe the only way to the promised land is through the desert. there is no way to get from here andhere without marching organizing together. as i look out on the small with people so diverse and passions and so bonded together by shared values, i have hope today that we will, in fact, know that the edge of our desert is near and that the promised land is in sight. how is everybody doing out
there? we will not let the rain stop us. in communities across this nation, there are people who are suffering and in need and dr. king once said " lice most persistent question and urgent question is what are you doing for others?" joining us now are two advocates of civil engagement -- these welcome the chair of the national council of negro women, ingrid saunders jones and a great brother who happens to be the general president of the greatest fraternity in the world, the fraternity that has members such as jesse owens, thurgood marshall, dr. martin luther king jr., and hill harper. mark tillman.
>> good afternoon. the national council of negro women led by dorothy irene height was very much involved in the historic march on washington. it is an honor for me to be here to represent the thousands of ncnw members and all of the other women who participated in that march. dr. hite worked closely with the leaders of the big six. that was the day that dr. king told us of his dream for his children and for all of our children. what we can be sure of is that dr. king was focused on the nation's foundation, our quest to form a more perfect union. at our birth, america was a nation of people actively involved in creating a place of
freedom and democracy. the principles expressed in the preamble, those simple but powerful words are the same theciples which undergird question for civil, human, and gender rights. america is distinguished by its commitment to democracy, democracy whose core ingredients include justice, peace, well- being, equality. our quest for a perfect model of democracy that more perfect continues. our personal civic responsibility and engagement will determine how well our democracy will work so we come together today just as was done 50 years go, to remind us of the need to be fully aware of and
actively engaged in our communities and their government at every level. remember the children of the 60s movement led us to today and are our leaders today. i am sure that we have seen and will hear from the children who will be the leaders of tomorrow. thank you. >> good afternoon. i am honored, humbled, and quite awestruck to be standing on sacred soil where 50 years ago, people came on buses, by cars, and some even walked to be a part of this historic event. unseen before in
the fight for civil rights. on this day, we are progressing with a mandate that was a eloquently set for america. wrapped in the legacy of great individuals that recognize we cannot afford generations becoming ill prepared to rise above individual concerns, ill prepared to live with understanding and goodwill, and that the meaning of stand your ground does not get you buried under the ground. manwe are here to honor a that anchored this movement, who dared to dream the rights of all men and women are equal, who defied him told practices that would discriminate terry and that -- that were discriminatory and inhumane and mobilize the nation that actions would eventually ring a better life. dr. martin luther king jr. was a proud member of alpha phi alpha
incorporated and we are proud to have led the initiative to old the memorial in his honor. on this historic occasion, we honor my fraternity brother who stands in the nations capital on hallowed ground with presidents of this country, forever remaining watchful and guarding the halls of democracy. commemorating the march on washington for jobs and freedom underscores our collective strength, influence, and unity. may have progressed with the elections of a black president and may soon follow with the election of a female president but we must not be distracted by the burning realization that our journey is still challenging and that race and class still have a great distance to go. all of us are the beneficiaries of the legacy to show our children that they can dream with confidence and realizing hopes and highest
aspirations. let's continue to march for their freedom. thank you. gentlemen,and dolores guerta. >> we are being blessed with the rain, yes we are. all ofhere to celebrate the wonderful benefits with all receive from the civil rights movement and chicano movement. we honor the sacrifices and the lives of those that gave their lives so we can have these benefits. we want to honor caretta scott king for all of the work she did to get that martin luther king holiday, the national holiday -- we want to honor your lawn the king for all that she did on behalf of women and children to stop abuses of both. dr. king said on this very stage
back to your communities, go back to the south, go back to the north because we've got to continue to organize and fulfill that dream." if we don't do it, it's not going to happen. the only way that discrimination is going to end against people of color, against women, against our lg bt community is if we do it which means we've got to outreach to those who are not with us. we've got to educate them. we got to mobilize them. we got to motivate them. that is the only way it can happen. i am going to ask all of you -- who has the power? let's say it loud and clear -- we've got the power/ who's got the power? i'm going to say what kind of power? just say people power. what kind of power?
one more time for leann rimes . progresse considerable in the last 50 years. but many of the problems that plague our communities back then still challenge us today. here to tell us where we go from greats a man who i have a deal of respect for, the president and ceo of the national urban league, mark moria. >> good afternoon fellow americans. shouldersday on the of martin luther king, whitney
young, john lewis, a philip randolph, and the many great leaders of 1963 who sacrificed, who marched, who demonstrated courage and bravery in the face of attack so that we can be here today. i stand as a representative of the next generation that has had the opportunity to walk into corporate boardrooms, walk into city hall's and county halls, into halls of justice, into the justice department and, yes, into 1600 pennsylvania avenue. sacrificesuse of the and the bravery of those whose names we remember and those we don't. i stand here today to call on this great and mighty nation to wake up.
wake up to unfair legalities parading as morality. wake up to insensitivity to the masked as fiscal austerity. wake up to politics without a positive purpose. it is time america to wake up. 50 years ago, that sleeping giant was awakened. but somewhere along the way, we dozed. we have been quelled by the lullaby of false prosperity and andmarrakesh of economic -- number roger the economic equality. we fell into a slumber and somewhere along the way, white sheets were traded for button- down white shirts. attack dogs and water hoses were tasters and implementation of stop and frisk policies. nooses were traded for
handcuffs. weewhere along the way, gained new enemies, cynicism and complacency. murders from urban america to suburban america. the pursuit of power for power's sake. we stand here today to say it is 2013,o wake up so here in we stand before the statue of the great emancipator. we look towards the statue of the great liberator. we say we have come to wake up a new civil rights movement for economic justice, a new civil rights movement for freedom in these days, a new civil rights movement for jobs, new civil rights movement for men, women, children, of all backgrounds, dispositions, all orientations, all cities, all counties, all towns, all across america.
for us tot is time wake up. the 21st century agenda for jobs and freedom comes alive today. we stand on the shoulders of the great men and women of yesterday and we affirm this new commitment for today and tomorrow. god bless you. god thank you and god lest this great nation. -- god bless this great nation. good afternoon. i am marcia fudge, the chair of the congressional lock caucus. and i am the chair of the congressional lack caucus because dr. martin luther king acted upon his dream. dr. king was not just a dreamer but the voice of a movement. five memberse were of the congressional black caucus. today, there are 44 african- american members in congress. dr. king dreamed of in america
where every individual, no matter their race, nationality, or social economic background would have the opportunity to achieve dreams of their own. his dream was a call to action. advocated for an america where everyone would be afforded their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a nation where there would be equal protection under the law and a country where every person's right to vote is protected. he dreamed of an america where every child has access to quality schools and an education that prepares them for their future. he dreamed that we as a nation would walk together on the swift path toward justice. , the congresso us of the united states of america, to work together to pass a jobs bill that ensures decent jobs for all of our citizens.
now it is up to us to ensure that we have a criminal justice system that does not value one life more than another. ensure --up to us to to make sure that no child goes hungry to school or to bed. in dr. king's words, we cannot and we must not be satisfied with anything less. it is our time to make dr. king's dream our reality. that 1963 was not an end but a new beginning. let us make today the start of a new chapter in the history of this country. let us march forward towards justice together. thank you. >> brothers and sisters, the members of the service employees international union are proud to
join the freedom fighters across this country in insisting on the three freedoms that are on the back of your program -- and in the spirit of the civil rights economic leadership whose shoulders we stand, i want you to join me in repeating the pledges of the freedoms we are committing ourselves here today. the freedom to participate in government, the freedom to prosper in life, the freedom to peacefully coexist. our members are proud to join with working people, faith leaders, community leaders across this country in joining our hands in a renewed commitment to bending the arc towards justice. to continuing the struggle achieve racial equality and economic equality for all by delivering on the promise of the affordable care act, by
inisting that we prevail winning commonsense immigration reform now and by joining together to create good jobs by supporting workers all across this country who have the guts to stand up, join together, and a mandate living wage from their employers. the fight continues. we want to work for a just valued,for all work is every human being is respected, where every family and community can thrive, and where we, brothers and sisters, join together in pursuing the freedom to have a better and more equal society for the next generation. thank you. >> please welcome actor and singer, jamie foxx. >> how are we doing?
let's make some noise for 50 years. listen, i don't have much time -- dr. here to celebrate with king did 50 years -- i am not even probably going to read in the teleprompter because i will speak from my heart. i will tell you right now that everybody my age and all the entertainers, it is time for us to stand up and renew the stream. that is what we've got to do. i was affected by the trade on margin situation. i was affected by new town. i was affected by sandy hook. i am affected those thing so it is time for us now to pick up. me at thefonte saw image awards and asked me what am i willing to do. he took it a step further and we went to dinner and my daughter is 19 years old -- i said if you want to get inspired, come listen to this man speak. when i sat with mr. belafonte, he asked my daughter -- how old are you? my daughter said 19 and i said,
mr. belafonte, what were you doing at 19? he said i was coming home from world war ii and when i got back to america, i was not allowed to vote. country, i love america, but i realized i had more work to do. al, jesse, margin, we marched. quacks i said wait a minute, you sound like you're naming a boy band group. who are these guys? he looked at my daughter and said -- martin luther king, have you heard of him? we sat there and we cried. what we need to do now is the young folks pick it up now so that when we are 87 years old talking to the other young folks, we can say it was me, will smith, jay-z, kanye alicia keys, the list goes on and on. don't make me start preaching up here. last but not least, i have to recognize mr. berry gordy.
harry belafonte bell martin luther king out of jail so he could march, he also paid for all the caretta scott king bills along his she was on this planet. some folks, let's have respect to our elders, that's the first finger at the last thing is this and i am out -- we have to salute mr. berry king'sbecause he put dr. speech on an and put it out on motown records and after he did that, he turned around and gave those tapes and back to the king family. thank you so much. you not forget, 50 years, i am out. thank you. jamie foxx, ladies and gentlemen. welcome one help me
, a man who heroes needs no introduction, a man who will fire us up, a man who is the president of the national action network, the reverend al sharpton. [applause] 50 years ago, when they came to washington, it was not for an event. it was in the middle of struggle. it was in the middle of battles to break down the walls of apartheid in america. dr. king and those that fought theyhim, they fought and eat jim crow. we come today to not only celebrate and commemorate but we come as the children of dr. king to say that we are going to face
jim crow's children. because jim crow had a son called james crowe junior esquire. he writes voting suppression loss and puts it in language that looks different but the results are the same. tellcome with laws that people to stand their ground, they come with laws that tell people to stop and frisk but i come to tell you just like our mothers and fathers beat jim crow, we will need james crowe junior esquire. they call the generation of dr. king the moses generation. those out here now are joshua. fight thedoes not fight for moses, then they are not really joshua.
we saw dr. king and the dream cross the red sea of apartheid and segregation. but we have to cross the jordan -- we haveeconomic to cross the jordan of continued discrimination and mass incarceration. we've got to keep on fighting and we've got to keep -- we got to vindicate and stand up and substantiate that the dream was not for one generation. the dream goes on until the dream is achieved. notly, we made it this far because of what we had in our pockets but what we had in our hearts. not because of what we owned, but because of who owned us. forwe think a mighty god doing us a martin luther king. we thank the mighty god that wrought us along way. he brought us from disgrace to amazing grace. he brought us from the butler to
the president. elahrought us from bue tooprah and we thank god for the dream and we will keep on fighting until the dream is a reality. thank you and god bless you. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome randy weingarten. ladies and gentlemen, sisters and brothers, i am the president of the 1.5 million- member american federation of teachers. far, king,e so rustin, evers, parks, shot is, and so many others who have summoned our nation to confront the malignancy of prejudice and discrimination and many of our afflictions have been healed but we have far to go. because the supreme court has turned its back on voter
suppression, many will once again be denied the right to vote. poor willho are today stay poor. millions of americans work hard every day but cannot earn a living wage or exercise their right to collectively bargain. public schools where kids are needed the most often get policed and discrimination based on the color of your skin or the person you love may not be legal in many arenas but it is still legal in many times. leaders this day 50 years ago understood that struggle for civil rights, racial equality is a struggle for good jobs and decent wages. they understood, as we do today, that public education is an economic necessity and anchors democracy and a fundamental right. so we celebrate today that we have become a country that believes in equality and we recommit ourselves to be a
country that acts on that belief. that starts with reclaiming the promise of public education, not as it is today or was in the past but what we need it to be to fulfill our collective responsibility to all of god's children. a great nation and shores that each neighborhood of school is a good school. it takes great pains to make the working poor and child hunger conditions of the past. it honors the rights of workers, it takes its immigrants out of the shadows and it makes the franchise sector assigned. a great nation is one that acts to lifting us toward opportunity and justice. the king family has brought us together these five days not simply to reflect but to act and we, at the afp will act to keep the dream alive, thank you. [applause] >> please welcome julian bond
>> this is a special way and that special place for all of us. not only do we pay homage to those who gathered here 50 years ago to tell the nation that they too were americans, we also celebrate the 150th anniversary of abraham lincoln plus gettysburg address and the emancipation proclamation. this is personal for me. like many of you, i was privileged to be here 50 years ago. like many of you, i am the grandson of a slave. my grandfather and his mother were property like a horse or a chair. as a young girl, she had been given away as a wedding present to a new bride and when that bride became pregnant, her husband, my great-grandmother's
owner and master, exercised his right to take his wife's slaves as his mistress. that union produced two children, one of them my grandfather. at age 15, barely able to read or write, he pitched his tuition to a steer and walked across kentucky to college and the college let him in. he belonged to a transcendent generation of black americans, a generation born in slavery in the freed by the civil war, determined to make their way as free women and men. martin luther king belonged to a transcendent generation of black americans, two, a generation born in segregation, determined to make their way as free women and men. when my grandfather graduated the college asked him to deliver the commencement address and he said then -- the pessimist from his corner looks out from a corner of which ms. and synth and blinded by all that is good or hopeful and the condition and progress of the human race, b wells the present state of affairs and projects woeful things for the future.
beholds aloud, he disruptive storm and every flash of lightning, an omen of evil, and every show that falls across his path, a lurking foe. but he forgets that the clouds also bring life and hope, that the lightning. five the atmosphere, that shadow and darkness prepare for sunshine and growth and that hardships and adversity nerve the race as the individuals for greater efforts and grander victories. we are still being tested by hardships and adversity from the elevation of stand your round loss to the evisceration of the voting rights act. to date we commit ourselves as we did 50 years ago to greater efforts and grander victories, thank you. and now, singer and songwriter, surely teacher. ♪ >> come on, everybody.
father, lyndon johnson, a passionate believer in equality, spoke these words -- " 100 years ago, the slaves were freed. later, the negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin. the negro today asks justice. we don't answer him. we don't answer those who live in it the soil. we reply to the negro by asking. patients " i was there with him at gettysburg when he spoke on memorial day 1963. at the 100th anniversary of the
civil war. he was vice president at that time and it was three months before the historical march on washington. that we commemorate today. a superficial glance, my father, the grandson of a confederate soldier, may not have seemed the most obvious ally to the movement. a white seven or from jim crow south, he was no young idealist fresh out of college nor was racial equality a pressing goal of the majority of his texas constituents. rather the opposite. as a teacher, he had seen the plight of his mexican-american students and dr. king cost powerful dream found a kindred spirit and my father who cared deeply about fairness and equality. presidentragedy of kennedy's assassination propelled him to the presidency, he used every power at his disposal including his
considerable legislative muscle to push through the civil rights act of 1964 - [applause] of 1965 --rights act [applause] and the fair housing act of 1968. [applause] in daddy's laughter in the white house, signing the third civil rights bill, he wrote -- i do not exaggerate when i say that the proudest moment of my presidency have been times such as this when i have signed into law the promises of the century. recently, the supreme court struck down part of the voting rights act which did so much to combat voting inequality in our country. are 50 years later, they
first -- there are still many examples of current events on how much farther we have yet to go to achieve that promise of a colorblind america. remember, too, that fairness and equality are powerful ideas that resonate with all americans and with a message as inspiring and timeless as the dream of dr. king. it will be unexpected allies if only we look for them. you know what his wife said? caretta scott king said freedom is never really wonm, you earn it. and when it in every generation. and she was right. like jamie foxx says, thank you. please welcome caroline kennedy. [applause]
>> thank you, linda. johnson robb. good afternoon. 50 years ago, my father watched from the white house as dr. king and thousands of others recommitted america to our highest ideals. over the preceding months, president kennedy had put the full force of the federal government on the side of the movement calling on all americans to recognize that we faced a moral crisis as old as the scriptures and as clear as the american constitution. his brothers, my uncles bobby and teddy, my aunt eunice, continued his commitment, working to expand the promises made here to others suffering from discrimination and exclusion. a few months ago, after the trade on margin verdict was handed down and the supreme
court if this are rated the voting rights act, president obama did the same, reminding us all that despite our remarkable progress, each generation must rededicate itself to the unfinished work of building a free and just america. our parents and grandparents marched for jobs and freedom. we have suffered and sacrificed too much to let their dream become a memory. the children that are failing schools are all of our children. the victims of hate crimes and gun violence are our brothers and sisters. in the words of an old japanese proverb -- the water flows on but the river remains. now it is our turn to live up to our parents dream, to draw renewed strength from what happened here 50 years ago and work together for a better world. thank you. [applause] >> please welcome actor and
unicef goodwill ambassador, forest whitaker. [applause] >> it's a great honor to be here on the 50th anniversary of dr. king's march on washington. it's very humbling to be allowed to connect with you in this way. each of you came here with individual goals and intentions which at first glance may seem separate and exclusive. but we all share a common bond. your presence here today says you care and want to bring more peace, love, and harmony to the world. together, we must embrace this moment. as a goodwill ambassador for peace here and abroad, i have observed revolutions in social change youthand, i have seen
senselessly killed, people struggling for food, for a decent home, education, and justice. i am often reminded of the marches and decisions we experienced here during the 60s. i remember the words of dr. martin luther king which were -- i have decided to stick with love. hate is too great a burden to bear. [applause] images fromseen those days of the civil rights movement. pictures of segregated water fountains, public waiting rooms, movie theaters and in those amazing photos, i have always been drawn to the men, women, and children who are the silent heroes. many remain nameless but the heroic faces captured the portraits of the past to remind us of their sacrifice.
they've risked their lives working tirelessly to bring about change. today, i want to celebrate those nameless individuals as we reflect on the last 50 years. in doing so, i want you to recognize the hero that exists inside yourselves. to understand that every step you take around an unknown corner marks your bravery. ,hen we overcome life's hurdles when we face and conquer our fears, when we help others become their better selves, we are committing small acts of heroism. if i were to take a picture of this crowd right now, people would see some of your faces in movements that are starting
today. this is your moment to join those silent heroes of the past. individuals who stood in the very spot where you stand today. you now have the responsibility to carry the torch as we gather here at the foot of the lincoln memorial as hundreds of thousands did on this day 50 years ago. i remain encouraged and inspired. let's be the generation to make a true difference in the world, let's create meaningful change, change that we can all believe in and share in. me -- youalways told don't have to believe in the things i believe but you have to believe in something. , search to find the thing you believe in, the thing you believe will help mankind and then act upon it, like so many of the silent heroes and her whims of the movement. each of us can spark change by working to strengthen our communities and to shape our common destiny.
as the bell rings today, my dream is that something will resonate inside you and me that will remind us each of our common bond. i would like to leave you with these words by dr. king -- whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. [laughter] [applause] i can never be what i ought to the un-tell you are what you ought to be. may god bless you. remain -- may you remain connected in love, thank you. [applause] please welcome the win ans. ♪ ♪
had some help here -- i said i wish i had some help here. if god is for us, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many trials, no matter how many nohts, if god be for us, one can stand against us so sing with me -- ♪ if god be for us who can stand against us usgod be for who can be against >> no matter how long it takes >> if god is before me against --
he's got you and me brother in his hand and me brother in his hands he's got the whole ♪orld in his hands sister, you and me he's got you and me sister in me hands, he's got you and sister in his hands he's got the hands♪orld in his ♪he's got everybody here in his got everybody here n his hands he's got everybody here in his hands he's got the whole world hands♪ he's got the whole world in his hands ands ♪n his hands
>> hello, everybody! be absolutely thrilled to here. i remember when i was nine years march was occurring and i asked my mama could i go march. on this date and this place at years ago today, dr. martin luther king shared america with ameri america. passionate the voice that awakened the conscience of a nation and over the eople all wor world. resonatedof his words because they were spoken out of in freedom,g belief justice, equality and opportunity for all. let freedom ring was dr. king's a better and or more just america.
people from all walks at 3:00 p.m.gather ringing events across our great country and around the we reaffirm our commitment to dr. king's ideals. king believed that our destinies are all intertwined, knew that our hopes and our dreams are really all the same. he challenged us to see how we alike than we are differe different. freedom ringlls of today, we are hoping that it is of us to reflect on not only the progress that -- and we have made a lot -- but on what we and also on shed the work that still remains
before us. today to pportunity recall where we once were in to think about that young man who at 34 years here and was able to force an entire country to at itself and k to eventually change. paoeeople continue to man and a ream of a movement, a man who in his short suffering and injustice and refused to look the other way way. we can be inspired and we, too, be courageous by continuing to walk in the footsteps of the forged. he he's the one who reminded us walk alone.h that he forged. he's the one who reminded us that we will never walk alone. he was a drum major for justice.
so, as the bells toll today, let us reflect on the bravery, let reflect on the sacrifice of those who stood up for freedom, us, whose p for shoulders we now stand on. bells toll today at three, let us ask ourselves how live on in me and us. and all of as the bells toll let us remind injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. we commit to all life of service, because one of my favorite quotes from him is not everybody famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service. ourselves what are redoing to lift others up. bells toll we must ecommit to the love it abides
lewis. >> president and mrs. obama, clinton, president cart carter, i want to think bernice and the king family national park service for inviting me here to speak today. when i look out over this diverse crowd and survey the est it ts on this platform, otis to realize what redding was singing about and was martin luther king
preachi has been a long time coming but a change has come. in the tanding here 150 w of abraham lincoln years after he issued the , and pation proclamation only 50 years after the historic washington for jobs and freedom. we have come a great distance in this country in the 50 years, still have a great fulfill to go before we the dream of martin luther king. sometimes i hear people saying for ng has changed, but someone to grow up the way i of up in the cotton fields alabama to now be serving in the me ed states congress makes want to tell them come and walk
shoes. those lk in the shoes of who were attacked by police and night sticks, arrested and taken to jail. came to washington in the same year that president born to participate in the freedom rides. 1 black and white people could not be seated together on bus.yhound take on ided to integrated fashion rides from to new orleans. but we never made it there. us were arrested and jailed in mississippi during the rides.m a bus was set on fire in alabama., we were beaten, arrested and jailed.
end to elped bring an segregation in public transportation. in june ck here again new chairman of the student nonviolent coordinating committee. with president kennedy, said he tkwdefy ed defied the in america. pay a poll tax, pass a test, count eracy the number of bubbles in a bar jelly or the number of beans in a jar. hundreds of thousands of people arrested and jailed throughout the south for trying to participate in the democratic process. plemedgers had been killed.
president away told kennedy we planned it march on washington. august 28, 1963, the nation's capitol was in a state of emergency. troops surrounded the city. were told to stay home. stores were closed. march was so orderly it was fear with dignity and self-respect because we believed the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. people came that day to that like they were on their way to a religious service. mahalia jackson sang how we got
over over. there were thousands of us it ther in a strange sense seemed like the whole place started rocking. we truly believe in every human eing, even those who were violent toward us there was a spark of the define. and no person had the right to spark. destroy that taught usher king jr. the way of peace, the way of way of nonviolence. he taught us to have the power forgive, the capacity to be reconciled. he taught us to stand up, to to speak out, to find way.y to get in the were willing to put their
bodies on the line for a greater cause, greater than themselves. incident of violence was .eported that day because of the leadership of the movement. he spirit of dr. king's words captured the hearts of people not just around america but world.the on that day, martin luther king made a speech, but he also sermon.d a e transformed these marble steps of the lincoln memorial pulpit.onitor-day he changed us forever. over, the ceremony was president kennedy invited us house.own to the white
he met us standing in the door he was val office and beaming like a proud father as hands of each one of us he said, you did a good job. you did a good job. and youaid to dr. king, have a dream. years later we can right anywhere we want to ride, stay we want to stay. those signs that say white and are gone. and you won't see them any more. book, in a museum, in a or on a video. invisible re still signs, barriers in the heart of kind that draw a gap
between us. of us still believe our offerences define us instead the define spark that runs through all of human creation. stains of race inism remain in society where in new york frisk or have injustice in the case of on this martin. millions ofation of americans, immigrants hiding in the shadow, unemployment, poverty, hung eer or the renewed struggle for voting rights. give up, we ever must never ever give in, we must our eyesfaith and keep on the prize. [applause] >> we did go to jail.
but we got the civil rights act. rights act.ing we got a fair housing act. must continue to push. work.t continue to late organizer for the the said in 1963, and leader of sufficiently rights we may have come here on different ships but we are all in the same boat now. so, it doesn't matter whether latino, ck or white, asian american or native whether we are gay or straight, one one people, one in the same l live house, not just the american house.but the world's theseen we finally assess
truths, then we will be able to dr. king's dreams to build a beloved community, a world at peace with itself. thank you very much. [cheers and applause] >> please welcome the 39th president of the united states, jimmy carter. lease please >> i'm greatly honored to be here. that most people know that it is highly unlikely that us three over to my right would have served in the white be on this platform had it not been for martin luther
and jr. and his movement crusader for civil rights. so, we are grateful to him for being here. i'm also proud that i came from he same part of the south as did. he never lost contact with the home.back tennessee helping garbage workers when he gave his bullet. a racist i remember how it was back in those days. i left georgia in 1943 for the navy.d when i came home, from the the rine duty i was put on board of education. i sucked to the other members we visit all the schools in the county. hey had never done there before. they were reluctant to go with me. it.we finally did and we found that white children buildings ice brick but the african-american hildren had 26 different
elementary schools in the cou y county. they were in churches, front few were in and a barns. they had so many because there school buses for army children and they had to be of wherelking distance they went to class. outdatedool books were and worn out. nd every one of them had a white child's name in the front of a book. obtained some buses nd in the state legislature ordained that the front fenders be painted black. even the school buses could be equal to each other. the finest moments of my life was 10 months after right g's famous speech here when president lyndon
johnson signed the civil rights act. grateful when the king family adopted me as their candidate in 1976. every handshake from dr. king, every hug for , coretta, got me a million yankee votes. the king prayed at democratic convention, for quite while, and coretta was in the hotel room with me and rosalyn when i was elected president. presidential battle of coretta saidion to he gazed at the great wall of egregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down. stronger r nation because he played it better. create a le to national historic site where
r. king lived, worked and worshiped. it is next door to the carter a walking ed by pennsylvania. here away try to make principles follow the same as theirs emphasizing peace and rights. i remember the daddy king said people martin preyed on mountain people. n truth he prayed for all people. he added it is not enough to ave a right to sit a hrurpbl counter if you can't afford to buy a meal. e also said the ghetto still looks the same even from the front seat of a bus. perhaps the most challenging statement of martin luther king i quote, the to tion of our time is how overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression
violence. of he nobel prize ceremony 2002 i said to my fellow the greatest leader perhapsnative state and my native country has ever produced and i was not excluding presidents and even the founding fathers when i said this. i believe we all know how would have reacted to he new idea of promise to exclude certain voters especially african-americans. how dr. king now would have reacted to the supreme court's striking down a part of the voter rights act recently passed congress.ingly by i think we know how dr. king would have reacted to unemployment among being almost ans twice the rate of white people
teenagers at 42%. i think we would all know how king would have reacted to our country being awash in guns more states and passing "stand your ground" laws. i think we know how dr. king would have reacted for people district of columbia still not having full citizenship rights. [cheers and applause] >> and i think we all know how king would have reacted to ave more than 835,000 african-american men in prison, ive times as many as when i left office and with one-third members rican-american being destined to being in their lifetime. there's a tremendous agenda to d of us and i'm thankful martin luther king jr. and his dream is still alive.
thank you. [cheers and applause] >> and now, please welcome the of the united states, bill clinton. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. mr. president, mrs. obama, carter, vice president biden. -- i want to thank my great friend king and the ce king family for inviting me to observationhis 50th of one of the most important american history. phish randolph. john lewis, dorothy heights. daisy bates and all the others knewed there massive march
what they were doing on this hallowed ground. of lincoln's burning memory of the fact that he gave his life to union and end sla martin luther king urged his crowd not to drink , but he cup of bitterness to reach across the racial divid divide. because, he said, we cannot walk alo alone. their destiny is tied up with our destiny. bound to our is freedom. he asked the victims of racial to meet white americans ith outstretched hands, not a clench clenched fist and prove the
of unearned er suffering. dreamed of an america where all citizens would take of her at a brotherhood and little white boys and girl and little black and girls would hold hands across the color line. would be own children judged not by the color of their theirut by the content of character. this march and that speech america. hey opened minds, they melted hear hearts, and they moved millions 17-year-old boy atching alone in his home in arkansas. empowering moment but also an empowered moment. as the great chronicler of those
wrote, the branch movement here gained a force to "the stubborn gates of flowed the civil ights act, voting rights act, medicaid, medicare, open housing. the well to remember leaders and foot soldiers were both idealists and tough realists. they had to be. it was a violent time. lost hree months later we president kennedy and we thank god that president johnson came for all of those issues i just mentioned. applause] >> just five years later, we .ost senator kennedy and in between there was the the fight for jobs, .reedom and equality just 18 days after this march four little children were killed
birmingham church bombing. then there were the ku klux klan murders, the mississippi lynchings. , until in others 1968 dr. king himself was martyr still marching for jobs and freedom. what a debt we owe to those years who came here 50 ago. applause] >> the martyrs played it all for dream. a dream as john lewis said that actually ave now lived. repay the going to debt? dr. king's dream of int his dependence, prescription of whole-hearted cooperation across racial lines, true today as they did 50 years ago.
face terrible political gridlock now. little history. it is nothing new. es, there remain racial inequality in employment, income, health, wealth, victimsation and in the and perpetrators of violent crime. don't face beatings, ynchings and shootings for our political beliefs any more and i would respectfully suggest that not live her king did and die to hear his heirs whine gridlock.itical it is time to start complaining and put our shoulders against stubborn gates holding the american people back. we cannot be disheartened by the resistance to building a modern economy of good jobs income or rebuilding our education system to give our
children a common core of knowledge necessary to ensure success. or to give americans of all ages college andfordable training programs. and we thank the president for in those regards. we cannot relax in our efforts to implement health care reform n a way that ends discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, one is inadequate income to pay for rising health care. a health care reform that will costs and lengthen lives. in can away stop investing science and technology to train young people of all races for act obs of tomorrow and to on what we learned about our businesses, and our climates.
stubbornush open those gates. we cannot be discouraged by a that saidurt decision we don't need this critical provision of the voting rights because look at the states. andade it harder for armies hispanics and students and lderly and infirm and poor working folks to vote. what do you know? in line ed up, stood for hours and voted anyway. o obviously we don't need any kind of law. [applause] a great democracy does ot make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon. applause] >> we must open those stub been stubborn gates. and let us not forget while divides persist and must not be denied, the whole
littered andscape is with the lost dreams and dashed .opes of people of all races and the great irony of the the nt moment is that future has never brimmed with more possibilities. never burned brighter in what we could become if we push those stubborn gates. and if we do it together. the choice remains as it was on 50 yearsant summer day ago. cooperate and thrive or fight behind.n other and fall we should all thank god for and john lewis and all of those who gave us a dream to guide us. a dream they paid for like our founders with their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor. we thank them for remind being that america is always becoming, always on a journey,
we all, every single citizen have to run our laps. bless ss them and god america. [cheers and applause]have to ru. god bless them and god bless america. [cheers and applause] please give a warm welcome to martin luther king iii. >> mr. president, madam first lady, president carter, congressman nton, lewis, and to all program participan this is an unusual history as r world anniversary.e 50th and i'm so thankful for the
thank nities to really realize or helping to the dream. although i must say it is not realized. so we must redouble and .uadruple our efforts so much has been said today -- i was 5 years old in 1963 dad delivered his message blessed that we were able to bring our daughter, who 5 hopefully paying attention, years old, so that she can history and is continue to participate. there are two quick other things want to say. i have been speaking all week as have.of us but i'm reminded that dad challenged us.
challenged he did, our nation to be a better nation for all god's children. i'm reminded that he taught us agape love, love, the love that is totally somebody if u love you are old, young, white, native american, latino, it doesn't matter because god calls us to do that. love and forgiveness is what we need more of not just in our the world.throughout so i want to rush to tell you the ultimate measure of where one ng is stands not in times of comfort and convenience but in times of challenge and controversy. said on some questions acts is the position, speed is vanity is a position but that something deep inside calls conscience acts is
position of rights so often talked about sometimes we must ake positions that are neither safe nor popular nor politic but positions ake those because our conscience tells us they are right. ur families say this afternoon we've got a lot of work to do, ut none of us should be any which is tired. why? because we've come much too far from where we started. you see, no one ever told any of easy,t our roads would be but i know our god, our god, our bring any of us this far to leave us. you.k you and god bless [cheers and applause] .> please welcome
>> thank you. and mrs. obama, , esidents clinton and carter ther distinguished program participan participants, i'm honored to be and to address .his historic gathering don't know if i am the most senior speaker to address this , but i'm oday certainly and surely the only alive who knew martin jr. when he was a ba baby. it has been my great privilege
grow ch my little brother and thrive and develop into a and then a great leader legacy continues to millions untless around the world. unfortunately unfortunately, a bout with a new 50 years ago prevented me from attending the original march. watch it on e to televisi television, and i was as awe-struck as everyone else. knew martin was an excellent prea reacher because i had seen him deliver on many occasions. , martin achieved he melded the se
opes and dreams of millions nto a grand vision of healing, reconciliation and brotherhood. brother shared with ur nation and world on that day 3tkaeday 50 years continues to further clear and sustain nonviolent activists wor worldwide in that struggle for freedom and human rights. deed, this gathering provides testament of hope and martin's tive that he at dream will live on in t jaqu of humanity for generations to come.
ur challenge as followers of martin luther king jr. is to now , leadership and in a by living our lives ay that carries forward the unfinished work. here is no better way to honor his sacrifices and contributions by becoming champions of unanimous violence. -- non violenviolence. in our homes, communities and of work, worship and wherever, every day. the dream martin shared on that century ago remains a the itive statement of beautiful eam, the vision of a diverse,
united in ing people our love of justice, brotherhood sisterhood. play the dream but cannot destroy his dream. to dream is a vision not yet be realized, a dream yet to tdo and we have much before we can celebrate the as a reality. as the suppression of voting and horrific violence lives of aken the trayvon martin and young people america and has so painfully demonstrated. but, despite the influences and
we are here face, dream.o affirm the we are not going to be discouraged. we are not going to be distract the. defeated. going to be nstead, we are going forward into this uncertain future with to age and determination make the dream a vibrant reality. so, the work to fulfill the on.am goes and despite the daunting hallenges we face on the road to the beloved community, i feel dream is sink iing deep nourish iing roots all across america and around the world. ay it continue to thrive and
spread and help bring justice, and liberation to all humanity. and god bless you all. [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause] >> please welcome reverend dr. bernice king. obama, mrs. obama, president carter and clinton, lewis, ambassador you iii, toy brother martin family.e i was five months old when my delivered his "i have a dream" speech and i probably was
crawling on the floor having a a nap after meal. but the day is a glorious day on this program today we have witnessed a manifestation beloved community. and we thank everyone for their today.e here today we have been honored to ave three presidents of the united states. 50 years ago, the president did attend. today we are honored to have many women in the planning and of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. [applause] >> 50 years ago there was not a program.man on the today we are honored to have not person but ng several young people on the program today. certainly a tribute to the work and legacy of so many
before hat have gone on us. a symb ago today, in symbolic shadow of abraham my father stood in this this pot and declared to ation his -- dream to let freedom ring all the people being man calendared by a system stkwraeugs. he commissioned us to go back to cities, towns, and villages es and let freedom ring. of the sound ion of that freedom message has 1963 fied and echoed since through the decades and coast to throughout this nation and even around the world. as we are summoned again
hallowed grounds to send out a clarion call to let freedom ring. that time, as a result of the civil rights act of 1964, 1965, the hts act of 1968, we ing act of have witnessed great strides toward freedom for all of race, color, gender, relying, national disability, class or sexual orientation. years later in this year of jubilee, we are standing once again in the shadow of that emancipator, having been summoned to these hallowed to reverberate the essage of that great liberate or. for there is a remnant from congressman lewis, ambassador young, that still
come to bequeath that message of freedom it a new eneration of people who must ow carry that message in their towns, their community. amongst their tribes and amongst their nations of the world. we must keep the sound and the essage of freedom and justice going. it was my mother as has been scott eviously coretta king who in fact 30 years ago coalition of conscience that started us on of remembering the anniversary of the march on washington. struggle is us that a never-ends progress. every n it and win in generation. so away come once again to let ring.m because if freedom stops ringing then the sound will disappear
the atmosphere will be charged with something else. 50 years later we come once again to this special landing on the steps of the lincoln emorial to reflect, to renew, and to rejuvenate for the continued struggle of freedom justice. for today, 50 years later, my riends, we are still crippled by practices and policies steeped in racial pride, hatred hostility. standing ich have us our ground rather than finding common ground. we are still chained by economic isparity, income and class inequality, and conditions of god's for many of children around this nation and the world. a cycle ofl bound by civil unrest and inherent social
in our nation and world intooften times degenerate violence and destruction, and ially against women children. we are at this landing and now the cycle.ak the prophet king spoke the vision. he made it plain. and we must run with it in this generation. his prophetic vision and magnificent dream described the of people all over the world to have the freedom to life, wigs the right to pursue one's aspirations, well-being, ams, without oppressive, eprotective, repressive practices, behaviors, laws and one's ons that diminish dignity and denies one life, iberty and the pursuit of happiness. the freedom to participate in
governme government, which is the right a voice and a say in how you are represented, regulate governed without threats of disenfranchisement, xclusionary tactics and behavior and to have freedom to peacefully co-exist which is the one's o be respected in sel self-hood, individuality and fear of s without attack, assault or abuse. fare asked a poignant and critical question. here?do we go from chaos or community? and we say with a resounding to chaos, and yes to community. ourselvesgoing to rid of the chaos, then away must a necessaryust make shift. nothing is more tragic than for s to fail to achieve new attitudes and new mental outlooks.
e have an opportunity to reset the means by which we live, work and enjoy our lives. continue to ng to struggle of freedom and create true community we will have to relentless in exposing, confronting and ridding the mind set of pride and greed and selfishness hate and lust and fear and of purpose andck lack of love as my brother said for our neighbor. must seize this moment. the dawning of a new day. he emergence of a new generation who has postured to change the world through collaborate collaborative power. call upon my brother by the name of nehemiah midst of so in the rebuilding a community and in rebuilding a community he brought the leaders, rumors and rest of the
them together and told that the work is great and large widely separated one from another on the wall. hear the sound of the trumpet and might i say we when you hear the sound of the bell today, come to that spot and our god will fight with us. today we are going to let freedom ring all across this nation. let freedom ring everywhere we go. if freedom is going to ring in libya, syria, egypt, florida, we ,ust reach across the table feed each other, and let freedom ring. [applause]
they are endowed by their creator, certain inalienable rights. among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. in 1963, almost 200 years after those words were set to paper, a full century after a great war was fought and emancipation proclaimed, that promise, those truths remained unmet. and so they came by the thousands. from every corner of our country. old,nd women, young and blacks who long for freedom and
whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others. land, congregations sent them off with food and prayer. in the middle of the night, entire blocks of harlem came out to wish them well. with the few dollars they script skrimpedr labor -- from their labor, they set on buses. those with less money hitchhiked or walked. they were seamstresses and steelworkers, students and teachers. and porters. they shared simple males and bumped -- meals and bunked together.
day, theyummer assembled here in our nation's under the shadow of the great emancipator to offer .estimony of injustice to petition their government for redress. to awaken america's long slumbering conscience. we rightly and best remember dr. king's soaring oratory that day, how he gave hope to millions, pass -- hislvation words belong to the ages,
possessing a power unmatched in our time. we would do well to recall that day it self also belonged to those ordinary people, whose names never appeared in the history books. never got on tv. many had gone to segregated schools, sat at segregated lunch counters. they lived in towns where they could not vote, in cities where their votes did not matter. there were couples in love who could not marry. soldiers who fought for freedom abroad that they found denied to them at home. beaten, seen loved ones and children fire host. -- fire-hosed.
they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate. and yet, they chose a different path. hatred, theyf prayed for their tormentors. , they face of violence with theand sat in moral force of nonviolence. willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws. cells swelling with the sounds of freedom songs. a lifetime of indignities that taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that god grants. they learned through hard experience what frederick
douglass once taught, that freedom is not given, it must be won. discipline, persistence, and faith. that was the spirit they brought here that day. that was the spirit that young people like john lewis brought to that destination. that was the spirit that they carried with them like a torch back to their cities and neighborhoods. that steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain them through the campaigns to boycotts and voter .egistration fraud smaller marches, far from the spotlight. through the loss of four little birmingham, and the
agony of dallas and california and memphis. through setbacks and heartbreaks , that flame of justice flickered. it never died. marching,ey kept america changed. because they marched, the civil rights law was passed. because they marched, the voting rights law was assigned. because they marched, doors of opportunity in education swung open so their daughters and sons could imagine a life for themselves beyond washing someone else's laundry or shining someone else's shoes. marched, city councils changed and state
legislatures changed and congress changed. eventually the white house changed. [cheers and applause] because they marched, america became more free and more fair. not just for african-americans, but for women and latinos. asians and native americans. catholics, jews, and muslims. for gays, for americans with disabilities. america changed for you and for me. the entire world drew strength from that example, whether it be young people who watched from the other side of an iron curtain and would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside south africa would eventually end the scourge
of apartheid. [cheers and applause] those are the victories they won. with iron wills, and hope in , that is as transformation that they brought with each step of their well- worn shoes. i ands the depth that millions of americans owe those maids, porters, secretaries. those white students who put themselves in harms way, even though they didn't have to. americans whoe- recalled their own internment, those jewish americans who survived the holocaust. people who could have given up and given them, but kept on keeping on knowing that weeping
may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. [cheers and applause] on the battlefield of justice, men and women without rank or wealth or title or fame would liberate us all in ways that our children now take for granted. people of all colors and creeds live and learn and walk together , and fight alongside one another and love one another. another by the content of our character in this greatest nation on earth. to dismiss the magnitude of this , to suggest as some
sometimes do the little has -- that little has changed, that dishonors the courage and sacrifice sacrifice of those who paid the price to march. [cheers and applause] chaney, andrew goodman, martin luther king, jr. -- they did not die in vain. their victory was great. but we would dishonor those suggest thatl to the work of this nation is somehow complete. universef the moral may bend towards justice, but it does not bend on its own.
to secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency. whether it is by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote, or ensure that the scales of justice work equally for all in the criminal justice -- it requires vigilance. [cheers and applause] we will suffer the occasional setback, but we will win these fights. this country has changed too much. [cheers and applause] people of goodwill, regardless regardless of party, are too plentiful for those with ill will to change history's currents. in some ways, the securing of
, the rights, voting rights eradication of legalized discrimination -- the very significance of these victories may have obscured the second goal of the march. for the men and women who gathered 50 years ago were not there in search of some abstract idea. they were there seeking jobs as well as justice. the absence of oppression, but the presence of economic opportunity. [cheers and applause] for what does it profit a man, dr. king would ask, to sit at a counter if you can't afford the meal?
this idea that one's liberty is linked to one's livelihood, that the pursuit of happiness requires the dignity of work, the skills to find work, decent pay, some measure of material new.ity, this idea was not lincoln himself understood the declaration of independence in inh terms that is a promise due time, the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. and dr. king explained that the goals of african-americans were identical to working people of all races. decent wages, fair working , oldtions, livable housing age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have
education for their children, respect in the community. describing has been the dream of every american . it has what has lured for centuries new arrivals to our shores. the second dimension of economic opportunity, the chance to honest toil to advance one's .tation in life the goals of 50 years ago have fallen short. there have been examples of success that would have been unimaginable in black america half a century ago. this has been noted, as unemployment remains almost twice that of white unemployment .
the gap in wealth between races has not lessened. it has grown. indicated,t clinton the position of all working americans, regardless of color, has eroded, making the dream dr. king described even more elusive. over a decade, working americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnant, as corporate profits soar and as the pay of a fortunate few explodes. upward mobility has become harder. in too many communities across this country, the shadow of over ourasts a pall youth, their lives a fortress of substandard schools, inadequate
health care, perennial violence. as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires, it was whether this country would allow all people who are willing to work hard into the ranks of a middle-class life. [cheers and applause] the test was not and never has been whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. it is whether our economic system provides a fair shot for many, for the black custodian and white steelworker. , andmmigrant dishwasher the native american veteran.
to win that battle, to answer that call. this remains our great unfinished business. ourselves.ot fool the task will not be easy. since 1963, the economy has changed. the twin forces of technology and global competition has subtracted those jobs that once provided a foothold into the , reduce the bargaining power of american workers. our politics has suffered. entrenched interests, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, resisted any government efforts to give working families a fair deal. argued thatobbyists minimum wage increases or stronger labor laws or taxes on the wealthy who could afford
just to fund public schools but all these things violated sound economic principles -- that all the things violated sound economic principles. we have been told that growing inequality was a price for a growing economy. the measure of a free market. that greed was good, and , andssion ineffective those without jobs or health care had only themselves to blame. those electede officials who found it useful to practice the old politics of division, doing the best to convince middle-class americans of a great untruth, that government was somehow itself to blame for their growing economic insecurity. that distant eurocrats were taking their hard-earned dollars -- bureaucrats were
taking their hard-earned dollars others.it when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. assassinations set off self-defeating rights -- riots. legitimate grievances against police brutality ended in excuse making for criminal behavior. racial politics could cut both ways. as a transformative message of unity and brotherhood was by discrimination. what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all americans to work hard and get ahead, was too often framed as a mere desire for government support.
as if we had no agency in our own liberation. poverty was an excuse for not raising your child. all of that history is how progress stalled. that is how hope was diverted. it is how our country remained divided. news is, just as was true in 1963, we now have a .hoice we can continue down our current path, in which the gears of this great democracy grind to a halt and our children except a life of lower expectations, where politics is a zero-sum game, where if you do very well while struggling families of every race fight over shrugging economic pie.
or we can have the courage to change. the march on washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history. we are masters of our fate. it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. reignite theto embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago. i believe that spirit is there. that force inside each of us. i see it when a mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. i see it when the black youth think of his own grandfather in
the dignified steps of an elderly white man. nativeborn when the recognizes that striving spirit, wendy racial couple -- when interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple and experiences it as their own. that is were courage comes from. othere turn not from each , or on each other, but towards one another and we find that we do not walk alone. that is were courage comes from. -- where courage comes from. [cheers and applause] with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages. together for the right to health care in the richest nation on earth for every person. courage, we can stand
together for the right of every child from the corners of anacostia to the hills of appalachia to get an education that serves the mind and catches the spirit and prepares them for the world that awaits them. [cheers and applause] courage, we can feed the hard-working and house the homeless and transform bleak wastelands of poverty into fields of commerce and promise. america, i know the road will be long, but i know we can get there. we will stumble, but i know we will get back up. that is how a movement happens. that is how history bands. -- bends. that is when someone says, come on. there is a reason why so many who marched that day and in the days to come were young.
the young are unconstrained by fear. unconstrained by the conventions of what is. to dream differently, to imagine something better. i'm convinced that same imagination, the same hunger of in thisserves generation. we might not face the same dangers as 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains. we may never duplicate the swelling crowds, the dazzling procession. no one can match king's brilliance. but the same claim that lifted the heart of all who are willing to take that step for justice, i know that claim remains. teacher who gets to
class early and stays late and dips into her own pocket to buy supplies because she believes that every child is her charge, she is marching. [cheers and applause] who successful businessman doesn't have to, but pays his workers a fair wage and then offers a shot to a man, maybe an ex-con, who is down on his luck, he is marching. [cheers and applause] who pours her love into her daughter so she grows up with the confidence to walk through the same doors as anybody's son, she's marching. [cheers and applause] the father who realizes the most important job he will ever have is raising his buoyant right, even he did not have a father, especially if you did not have a father at home, -- boy right, even if he did not have a father , especially if you did not have a father at home, he is marching. [cheers and applause]
to keep serving their country when they come home, they are marching. [cheers and applause] everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day, the change does not come from washington am a but to washington -- washington, but to washington. we, the people, who take on the mantle of citizenship, you are marching. [cheers and applause] that is the lesson of our past. that is the promise of tomorrow. ,n the face of impossible odds people who love their country can change it. when millions of americans of every race, every faith and every station can join together in a spirit of brotherhood, those mountains will be made low and those rough places will be made plain and those crooked places, they straighten out towards grace.
from president obama, two former, and many others. we want to hear your thoughts. our plan over the next couple of hours is to bring you some of the sights and sounds of today, including speeches. 8:00 eastern, we will bring you the entire event. . it is about four and half hours. it got under way just about 11:00 eastern today. we will re-air at all beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. ifjoin the conversation, you're in eastern and central time zones, the numbers are on your screen. we are also on twitter. we have posted a number of speeches throughout the day on facebook. we will read comments there as well.
let's go to bronxville, new york. andrew, good afternoon. >> i want to thank c-span, the only network that covered this wonderful day, to my knowledge. presidents together, and caroline kennedy kennedy, i want to remember president kennedy. sadly, we have the same calendar as 1963. on friday, november 22 will be 50 years since he died. he did a lot to help civil rights as well, behind the scenes. his brother bobby, and is caroline talked about. it was wonderful to see the confluence of people. and of course, remembering martin's great speech. thank you for bringing it to me today, c-span. julian -- julene.
moved, to looko in the audience and see all colors, all couples am a all different nationalities, all different religions -- and all different nationalities, all different religions looking to the president. america was built from immigrants who were rejected from another country. we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. president obama gave acknowledgment. do this in honor of what we were built on. the bible says, if my people will call by the name, then will i heal them. all i'm asking is that we go before god. we pushed him out of the schools, out of the offices, out
of everything that made us great. we have direct knowledge him for us to be the great nation that we are and will always be -- re- to be thee him for us great nation that we are and always will be. a caller in chicago. go ahead. caller: thank you, sir. we are the dream. i feel really moved by the whole program. i am the same age as the president. i worked very hard all my life to be a peacemaker. it has not been easy. watching the program makes me feel so joyful and hopeful. i have been blessed to be able to go to an elementary school where we had people from different ethnic groups, which helped me to be a more diverse and understanding person. my grandchildren go to schools
of diversity, where they have been able to have friends of different ethnic groups. we are of different ethnic groups. we are made of hebrew, chinese, african american, native american, irish. of america that a lot of people have not acknowledged over the years. the rainbow color, you see the fabric of america. , and i know we have a positive future because our young people are inspired. i think god -- thank god, and i have been praying for peace in chicago and around our nation. host: the audience still gathered around the reflecting pool, between the lincoln memorial and washington monument. it is under repair, with scaffolding around it. a caller in oakland, california. i also wanted to thank
you for putting the march on. it's amazing. 50 years, people who did not have the right to vote before this. the country has primarily brushed it bright -- by as something not phenomenal. i loved a lot of the speeches. the big point that i hope a lot of the audience gets across is, you have to continuously be youlved in your rights that have earned, and people have fought and died for. think, i go out and i vote one time every four years. you have to vote every year. cityave to vote on your council, your school board, your state representatives, your federal representatives. diligence is necessary here. i really want to make sure that
people understand that. we have notbecause even reached the 50th anniversary of our right to vote , and people are already fighting to erode those rights away. to me, this is something that is astronomical. point would be the unemployment rate. right now, black males in this country are unemployed at rates that were seen back in the 1930's, during the depression. we are festering because we can't get employment, because people don't want to give us jobs. we are fighting, voting, doing everything this country asks of us, and we still can't get to the table. hear enough about the unemployment situation this afternoon in 2013? caller: i heard some. here. are we see the people are being discriminated against.
i will say the president and other people saying, we need to do something about this. let's put some legislation in there. i have written to the president, and i suggest others do. continue to get involved in the process. i'm trying to put my finger on it. i think it's a situation where defaulted so many times, from trayvon martin to this woman who shot her got off to stop her abusing husband from attacking her, and got 20 years. commentsting a lot of on twitter, too. here is a tweet from catherine. very powerful speeches by bernice king and president obama. speaking ofigail, , would be great
if obama mentions trayvon martin. one more here, from ross. let's go back to calls. linda is in hyattsville, maryland. go ahead. caller: thank you so much to c- span. you guys are just phenomenal. that carry only ones the entire program without any interruptions. i really appreciate that. host: you bet. showing some highlights this afternoon, then we will re- air the entire event starting at 8:00 eastern. caller: i have been glued to my tv set from the very beginning. entireoff throughout the event, i had to break down and
start crying. woman4 years old, a black , born in macon, georgia. when i look at where we are today, and when i think about being a little girl in macon, georgia and asking my , why do the woolworth cafeteria have a section for colored? why do they call us colored people? things that, as a little child, you don't understand. do you remember the speech, do you remember your emotions at the time come at 14 -- time, at 14? caller: yes. my mother was there. my aunt was there. being young, you don't fully understand the full broad spectrum of history as it is
being made. all i knew was that it was something special. i had never seen so many people congregated together in washington, d.c., the majority of them being african american people, and carrying themselves with so much respect and dignity. wow, ihe feeling that, have witnessed something special. up late foro stay the first time when kennedy was voted president. a couple more minutes of your calls and comments. we will show you president obama's speech from this afternoon. caller: i am right here. thank you for covering this. it is been a blessing watching it. i want to thank todd, thank jesus for all the pioneers -- for all theesus
pioneers on this road. the lincoln family, the kennedys, the johnsons, clintons, carter's, and all those whose names i have not mentioned. i'm a retired military person who grew up in alabama, living in california now. father, i watched him as he dealt with those issues. --as a young boy, born in 18 1966. i did not leave there until the 1980's. i saw a lot of things with racial issues and stuff. i want to pray for those who hate, to break those chains of hate. i want to pray for the muslim population, let you know that you are not alone. i want to pray for my christian brothers. hasspeech and what dr. king done for us has been great.
we know we have different issues that we have to deal with in the --ure, but i believe we have this is a land of opportunity, the land of milk and honey. i believe everything is achievable if we can get rid of the hate and division. winded, want to get long- but i want to thank you, c-span. host: let's get a couple more calls here. albany, georgia. constants. -- constance. caller: thank you so much for airing this. i agree with the lady who spoke about, you know, you do not have interruptions. programszing to watch such as this, and you don't have to worry about missing anything. i will be watching it again. i encourage anyone to make sure when it comes on, to go to your television. this is been an emotional day for me. remember as a child -- i
was born, reared, educated in north carolina. movie, "a time to kill together little girl that had so many things done to her -- kil l," the little girl that had so many things done to make, i think that i could have been that girl. i think of the days when john f. kennedy was assassinated, when martin luther was killed. i have the energy to move forward and fight for equality, inclusion. i want to say something about today.
people need to remember that had it not been for lyndon baines johnson, we would still be going through changes. after kennedy's death, had he not come to the table, understanding the mindset and behavior, attitudes of southerners at that time, had he not known how to deal with his own to make sure we had the civil rights, voting rights -- he is so significant to that movement. i think his elder daughter who spoke, an excellent presentation. i ask people, make sure you understand your history. who really look up made those changes happen. in mindwe need to keep -- we have to make sure that when history is to be told, it
has to be told by us. our youth must understand that the struggle continues. host: thank you for your comments, and your calls. we're going to bring you those speeches throughout the afternoon. all of this ahead, and entire re-air beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. a look at the facebook reaction. we posted a video of president obama's speech. raff, he says he is dividing the country each and says, he -- rafte, he is dividing the country each and every day. your comments on facebook, on twitter, and by phone coming up. up next, president obama -- he was the last speaker on today's program, he spoke for about 30 minutes.
we hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal. they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. in 1963, almost 200 years after , a words were set to paper full century after a great war was fought and emancipation , those promises, those truths, they remained unmet. thousandsme by the
from every corner of our country ,- men and women, young and old blacks who long for freedom and whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others. congregationsd, sending them off with food and prayer. in the middle of the night, entire blocks of harlem came out to wish them well. with a few dollars, they scrimped from their labor even if they could not always sit where they wanted to sit. those with money hitchhiked or walked. they were seamstresses, steelworkers, students and
teachers, maids and pullman porters. they shared simple meals and busted together. and then, on a hot summer day, they assembled here in our nations capital under the shadow tothe great emancipator offer testimony of injustice. to petition their government for awaken america possible on slumbering conscience. we rightly and best remember dr. king costs soaring words that day. how he gave mighty voice to the
quiet hopes of millions. he offered a foundation it also belongs to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history tv.s, never got on many go on to segregated schools and sat at segregated lunch counters. they lived in towns where they could not vote, in cities where their votes did not matter. there were couples in love who could not marry. soldiers who fought for freedom
aboard -- abroad that they found denied to them at home. they had seen loved ones beaten, and children fire host. -- fire-hosed. they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate. and yet, they chose a different path. in the face of hatred, they prayed for their tormentors. in the face of violence, they stood up and sat in with the moral force of nonviolence. willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws. their cells swelling with the sounds of freedom songs.
a lifetime of indignities that taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that god grants. they learned through hard experience what frederick douglass once taught, that freedom is not given, it must be won. discipline, persistence, and faith. that was the spirit they brought here that day. that was the spirit that young people like john lewis brought to that destination. that was the spirit that they carried with them like a torch back to their cities and neighborhoods. that steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain
them through the campaigns to come, through boycotts and voter registration fraud. smaller marches, far from the spotlight. through the loss of four little girls in birmingham, and the agony of dallas and california and memphis. through setbacks and heartbreaks, that flame of justice flickered. it never died. because they kept marching, america changed. because they marched, the civil rights law was passed. because they marched, the voting rights law was assigned. because they marched, doors of opportunity in education swung open so their daughters and sons
could imagine a life for themselves beyond washing someone else's laundry or shining someone else's shoes. because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed and congress changed. eventually the white house changed. [cheers and applause] because they marched, america became more free and more fair. not just for african-americans, but for women and latinos. asians and native americans. catholics, jews, and muslims. for gays, for americans with disabilities. america changed for you and for me. the entire world drew strength from that example, whether it be young people who watched from the other side of an iron
curtain and would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside south africa would eventually end the scourge of apartheid. [cheers and applause] those are the victories they won. with iron wills, and hope in their hearts, that is a transformation that they brought with each step of their well- worn shoes. that is the depth that i and millions of americans owe those maids, porters, secretaries. those white students who put themselves in harms way, even though they didn't have to.
those japanese-americans who recalled their own internment, those jewish americans who survived the holocaust. people who could have given up and given them, but kept on keeping on knowing that weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. [cheers and applause] on the battlefield of justice, men and women without rank or wealth or title or fame would liberate us all in ways that our children now take for granted. people of all colors and creeds live and learn and walk together, and fight alongside one another and love one another. and judge one another by the content of our character in this greatest nation on earth.
to dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest as some sometimes do the little has changed -- that little has changed, that dishonors the courage and sacrifice sacrifice of those who paid the price to march. [cheers and applause] james chaney, andrew goodman, martin luther king, jr. -- they did not die in vain. their victory was great. but we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete. the ark of the moral universe
may bend towards justice, but it does not bend on its own. to secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency. whether it is by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote, or ensure that the scales of justice work equally for all in the criminal justice system -- it requires vigilance. [cheers and applause] we will suffer the occasional setback, but we will win these fights. this country has changed too much. [cheers and applause] people of goodwill, regardless regardless of party, are too
plentiful for those with ill will to change history's currents. in some ways, the securing of civil rights, voting rights, the eradication of legalized discrimination -- the very significance of these victories may have obscured the second goal of the march. for the men and women who gathered 50 years ago were not there in search of some abstract idea. they were there seeking jobs as well as justice. not just the absence of oppression, but the presence of
economic opportunity. [cheers and applause] for what does it profit a man, dr. king would ask, to sit at a counter if you can't afford the meal? this idea that one's liberty is linked to one's livelihood, that the pursuit of happiness requires the dignity of work, the skills to find work, decent pay, some measure of material security, this idea was not new. lincoln himself understood the declaration of independence in such terms that is a promise in due time, the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. and dr. king explained that the goals of african-americans were identical to working people of all races.
decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, respect in the community. what king was describing has been the dream of every american. it has what has lured for centuries new arrivals to our shores. the second dimension of economic opportunity, the chance to honest toil to advance one's station in life. the goals of 50 years ago have fallen short. there have been examples of success that would have been
unimaginable in black america half a century ago. this has been noted, as unemployment remains almost twice that of white unemployment. the gap in wealth between races has not lessened. it has grown. as president clinton indicated, the position of all working americans, regardless of color, has eroded, making the dream dr. king described even more elusive. over a decade, working americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnant, as corporate profits soar and as the pay of a fortunate few
explodes. upward mobility has become harder. in too many communities across this country, the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth, their lives a fortress of substandard schools, inadequate health care, perennial violence. as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires, it was whether this country would allow all people who are willing to work hard into the ranks of a middle-class life.
[cheers and applause] the test was not and never has been whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. it is whether our economic system provides a fair shot for many, for the black custodian and white steelworker. the immigrant dishwasher, and the native american veteran. to win that battle, to answer that call. this remains our great unfinished business.
we should not fool ourselves. the task will not be easy. since 1963, the economy has changed. the twin forces of technology and global competition has subtracted those jobs that once provided a foothold into the middle class, reduce the bargaining power of american workers. our politics has suffered. entrenched interests, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, resisted any government efforts to give working families a fair deal. we have been told that growing inequality was a price for a growing economy. the measure of a free market. that greed was good, and compassion ineffective, and those without jobs or health care had only themselves to blame. then there were those elected officials who found it useful to practice the old politics of division, doing the best to convince middle-class americans
of a great untruth, that government was somehow itself to blame for their growing economic insecurity. that distant eurocrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit -- bureaucrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit others. there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. the anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating rights -- riots. legitimate grievances against police brutality ended in excuse making for criminal behavior. racial politics could cut both ways. as a transformative message of unity and brotherhood was
drowned out by discrimination. what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all americans to work hard and get ahead, was too often framed as a mere desire for government support. as if we had no agency in our own liberation. the poverty was an excuse for not raising your child. all of that history is how progress stalled. that is how hope was diverted. it is how our country remained divided. the good news is, just as was true in 1963, we now have a choice. we can continue down our current path, in which the gears of this
great democracy grind to a halt and our children except a life of lower expectations, where politics is a zero-sum game, where if you do very well while struggling families of every race fight over shrugging economic pie. or we can have the courage to change. the march on washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history. we are masters of our fate. it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. we will have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago. i believe that spirit is there.
that force inside each of us. i see it when a mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. i see it when the black youth think of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. it is there when the nativeborn recognizes that striving spirit, wendy racial couple -- when interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple and experiences it as their own. that is were courage comes from. when we turn not from each other, or on each other, but towards one another and we find that we do not walk alone. that is were courage comes from. [cheers and applause] with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages.
we can stand together for the right to health care in the richest nation on earth for every person. with that courage, we can stand together for the right of every child from the corners of anacostia to the hills of appalachia to get an education that serves the mind and catches the spirit and prepares them for the world that awaits them. [cheers and applause] with that courage, we can feed the hard-working and house the homeless and transform bleak wastelands of poverty into fields of commerce and promise. america, i know the road will be long, but i know we can get there. we will stumble, but i know we will get back up. that is how a movement happens.
that is how history bands. -- bends. that is when someone says, come on. there is a reason why so many who marched that day and in the days to come were young. the young are unconstrained by fear. unconstrained by the conventions of what is. they dare to dream differently, to imagine something better. i'm convinced that same imagination, the same hunger of purpose serves in this generation. we might not face the same dangers as 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains. we may never duplicate the swelling crowds, the dazzling procession. no one can match king's brilliance. but the same claim that lifted the heart of all who are willing to take that step for justice, i
know that claim remains. the tireless teacher who gets to class early and stays late and dips into her own pocket to buy supplies because she believes that every child is her charge, she is marching. [cheers and applause] that successful businessman who doesn't have to, but pays his workers a fair wage and then offers a shot to a man, maybe an ex-con, who is down on his luck, he is marching. [cheers and applause] the mother who pours her love into her daughter so she grows up with the confidence to walk through the same doors as anybody's son, she's marching. [cheers and applause] the father who realizes the most important job he will ever have is raising his buoyant right,
even he did not have a father, especially if you did not have a especially if you did not have a father at home, he is marching. [cheers and applause] to keep serving their country when they come home, they are marching. [cheers and applause] everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day, the change does not come from washington am a but to washington -- washington, but to washington. we, the people, who take on the mantle of citizenship, you are marching. [cheers and applause]
that is the lesson of our past. that is the promise of tomorrow. in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it. when millions of americans of every race, every faith and every station can join together in a spirit of brotherhood, those mountains will be made low and those rough places will be made plain and those crooked places, they straighten out towards grace. we will vindicate the faith of those who sacrifice so much and live up to the true meaning of our creed as one nation under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. [cheers and applause] ♪
8:00 p.m. eastern. showing portions of the program through the afternoon today and also looking at facebook and twitter. #cspanchat. comments aboute the president speech and events overall. the did shorten the program because they were running long. again, #cspanchat. we will show you bits and pieces of the program today. we will take you to the first hour that got underway just after 11:00 a.m. eastern and
part of that included former human ambassador andrew young. say, i've got a feeling everything is going to be all right ♪ i've got a feeling everything is going to be all right i've got a feeling everything is going to be all right ♪ be all right, be all right, be all right ♪ pray on, stay on, fight on. >> please welcome robbie novak, national park service's director jonathan jarvis and the mayor of washington, d.c., vincent gray.
here 50 years ago but i hope to be here in the next 50 years. we have a duty to make sure the bettereeps dreaming for things. keep dreaming, keep dreaming, keep dreaming. [applause] >> in the summer of 1963, the civil rights movement was reaching its crescendo ending march on washington became 11 of its finest moments. there are countless photographs of that historic day. one shows a pair of national park service rangers standing by dr. king here on the steps of the lincoln memorial.
the image captures a small moment in a great event, but speaks volumes about the role of the national park service. we are here, we will always be here as the guardians of the american story. we gather today admits the greatest concentration of american monuments anywhere in the country -- amidst the greatest concentration of american monuments anywhere in the country. at each you will find a familiar national park service arrowhead, and the distinctive ranger's flat hat. we are there to welcome visitors, answer questions, and take care of these treasured places, to preserve the american stories they represent and the aspirations that bind us together as a people.
the places are now reserved as national parks across our nation. the first women's rights convention in seneca, new york. the edmund pettis bridge and the long road from selma to montgomery. the home and office of cesar chavez. little rock, brown v board. the power of these places is to inspire each generation to have a dream and the courage to make it a reality. national park service's fundamental mission is to keep a promise to the american people, that the ideas that shape us as a nation, the principles we strive to uphold, the values we fought and died for will be preserved forever. we are very proud of the two
rangers who stood on the steps 50 years ago. they will forever connect the national park service to the march on washington. my promise to you today is that we will protect these, and all the places entrusted to our care, to the highest standard of stewardship. we will also use them to inspire the next generation to create a more perfect union. thank you, and welcome. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. on behalf of the 632,000 residents of the district of columbia, allow me to welcome you to our nation's capital. 50 years ago today, in his timeless "i have a dream" speech, dr. king borrowed a lyric from one of our favorite
patriotic songs. ?let freedom ring." from stone mountain of georgia, and every hill of mississippi. there was one place that dr. king did not mention, about which he later spoke of. that was the district of columbia. that is because full freedom and democracy were and are still denied to the people who quite literally live within the site of the capitol dome. our city is home to more residents than the state of vermont and wyoming. but we have no voting representative in our own
congress. we pay more than $3.5 billion a year in federal taxes. we don't even get the final say over how we spend our own locally raised money. we send our sons and daughters to fight for democracy overseas, but don't get to practice it fully here at home. today, as we remember those who gave so much have a century ago to extend the blessings of liberty to all americans, i implore and hope that all of you will stand with me when i say that we must let freedom ring from mount saint alban, where rises the majestic national cathedral. we must let freedom ring from the bridges of anacostia. we must let freedom ring from capitol hill itself, until all
of the residents of the very seat of our great democracy are truly free. again, let me welcome you to our nation's capital, the district of columbia. please join hands with us and make every american free, especially those who live in the district of columbia, our nation's capital. >> minister and vocal artist. >> let freedom ring. let it ring.
they came from the north east, west, midwest. they came from the south. they came by rail, they came by bus. they came by car. one even roller skated here from chicago. they slept the night before in buses, in cars, on friend's floors, and in churches. 50 years ago this morning, we started in small rivulets of people on the sidestreets of this great city. we joined together in larger streams moving toward the main arteries of washington. then we came together in a mighty river of people down to this place. old, young, black, white, protestant, catholic, and you -- jew. we stopped at the washington monument and heard peter, paul, and mary sing of the hammer of
justice and the bell of freedom. americans came to this place around a radical idea, an idea at the heart of the american experience. an idea new to the world and in 1976, tested in 1865, renewed in 1963, and an idea still new and radical today. all men and women are created equal. all men and women are created equal. 50 years ago, at this place, at this sacred place, americans sent a message to their leaders
and around the world that the promise of a quality, of opportunity, equality before the law, equality in the right to freely participate in the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship applied to everyone in this country. not just the lucky few of the right color or the accident of birth. this is what martin luther king meant when he said that his dream was deeply rooted in the american dream. 100 50 years ago, 150 years ago this summer a mighty battle was fought not far from this place. this idea, the idea of equality, the idea of america hung in the balance. one of the soldiers on those hot
july days was a young college professor from maine named joshua lawrence chamberlain. returning to the battlefield at gettysburg many years later, he expressed the power of the place where such momentous deeds were done. here is what he said. here is what joshua chamberlain said. in great deeds, something abides. on great fields, something stays. forms change and path bodies disappear, but spirits linger to consecrate the ground for the vision place of souls. generations that no was not, and
that we know not of, to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them shall come to this deathless field, to this deathless place to ponder and dream. and lo, the shadow of a mighty presence will wrap them in its it was him -- bosom, and the power of the vision shall pass into their souls. 50 years ago today, this place was a battlefield. no shots were fired. no canon's roared. a battlefield nonetheless. a battlefield of ideas. the ideas that define us as a nation. as it was once said of church
held, martin luther king -- churchill, martin luther king mobilized the english language and marched into war. in the process, caught the conscience of the nation. here today on these steps, 50 years on, indeed something abides. the power of the vision has surely passed into our souls. [applause] >> please welcome the mayor of hattiesburg, mississippi, johnny depree. >> i want to thank the national conference of black mayors, and the coalitions for the opportunity to make a few remarks on this occasion.
the kids and decades ago, blood, sweat, tears, organizing meetings, negotiations and adjudications all culminated in a march 50 years ago. in march that would change the lives of millions of people, including myself. if someone would've told me that this little country boy who grew up on a dirt road in hattiesburg, mississippi would become a mayor, i would have fallen off a truck. my house and my cousin's house were next-door. we call that house a shotgun house. you may have had the opportunity to take a bath in a number 310. i did that. that's where i come from. playing with rocks because my mom could not afford the ball. to become the mayor of the fourth-largest city in mississippi.
we have been entrusted with making the lives of people better that we serve. our theme is, freedom to prosper, coexist, govern. african-americans, elected officials and black mayors in particular must not create ways to govern after being elected. for a brief period of time, during reconstruction, african- americans held elected office. jim crow quickly ended that. one of the challenges before african-americans, minorities, and women is the freedom to govern. we must do locally what president obama was able to do nationally, and go back to the individuals, groups, pastors who helped get us here and encourage them to make their voices heard
and push our collective agendas forward. we are afforded an awesome opportunity to be here today. we have this opportunity because of people like martin luther king, who did not quiver or retreat in the face of injustice. it is because of those who demanded to remain seated when they were asked to move. it is because of those who marched on, even though they were weary and bloodied. one foot in front of the other. one song after another. one city, and to late did what people said could not be done. people said could not be done. we will march on. thank you. [applause]
how many years can a mountain exist before it is pushed into the sea how many years can some people exist before they are allowed to be free? times can a man change his hand and pretend that he just doesn't see the answer, my friend is blowing in the wind the answer is blowing in the wind ♪ one more time the answer, my friend is blowing in the wind the answer is blowing in the
windowing in the the answer is blowing in the wind ♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [applause] >> part of the earlier portion of today's 50th anniversary march on washington and more ahead here on c-span and c-span radio. winning up to 8:00 tonight when we bring you the entire event from today. that is tonight at 8:00 eastern.